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Ancient Rome: From Republic to Empire


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Overview of Ancient Roman art and architecture

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Ancient Rome: From Republic to Empire

  1. 1. Ancient Rome Rise to Empire 509 BCE-337 CE
  2. 2. The Roman Empire Dates and Places: •  509BCE-337CE •  Italian peninsula, Western Europe, Near East People: •  Republic→Empire •  Polytheistic •  Military expansion spreads culture Map Ancient Rome through death of Caesar, 44 BCE
  3. 3. The Roman Empire •  At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from the Tigris and Euphrates to Britain’s Scottish borders •  146 BCE Greece absorbed into Roman empire Map Roman Empire
  4. 4. Roman Art Themes: •  Portraits •  Gods and rituals •  Homes, civic buildings, temples Forms: •  Verism, idealism, perspective •  Concrete construction •  Greek influence Dionysiac mystery frieze, ca. 60-50 BCE. Second style wall painting, Room 5 Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, Italy. Fresco, frieze 5’4” high.
  5. 5. The Republic (509-133 BCE) •  Roman Republic begun after expulsion of the last of the Etruscan kings •  Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE), a Roman general takes leading position in the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and birth of the Roman Empire •  Military prowess wins him unmatched power in Rome and new territories for the Republic, including lands in Britain and along the Rhine Bust of Julius Caesar, first half of the first century, CE. Green Basanite (stone) and rock crystal, 16 1/8” high. Altes Museum, Berlin.
  6. 6. The Republic (509-133 BCE) Model of Rome during the early fourth century CE. Museo della Civiltà Romana, Rome. Dates and Places: •  Between 509-46 BCE Rome as a Republic undergoes a period of territorial expansion and political consolidation at both home and abroad (political consolidation at home does not last) •  Republic dominated by small group of wealthy patricians (members of nobility) •  Plebeians (non-aristocrats, low social order) struggle for more rights and power •  Republic fraught with social and political instability •  46 BCE dictatorship of Julius Caesar begins to turn Republic around with improvements in infrastructure, tax relief, etc.
  7. 7. The Republic (509-133 BCE) •  Romans excelled at many things, including law and government and infrastructure •  Julius Caesar oversaw the construction of well- planned roads and harbors connecting far reaching territories with Rome •  Romans were also known for the engineering skills evident in their bridges, aqueducts, and sewer systems Via Appia, near Rome. The oldest major Roman route in Italy (opened 312 BC). This, one of the best preserved stretches in the world, from Rome to Boville (near Albano, 18 km (11 mi), detail shown), is paved with stone blocks. In Britain, more humble materials were generally used
  8. 8. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  Mix of Etruscan and Greek features –  Etruria=podium, stairs (axial alignment), and frontality (here the deeper porch also Etruscan influence) –  Greece=cella, columns, porch, the Orders, the pediment, the use of stone and marble, post and lintel •  High podium with frontal access only •  Ionic columns and frieze, pediment •  Pseudoperipteral style (free- standing columns in front with engaged columns along side) •  Many Greek artists and architects worked in Rome and its provinces following Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BCE Temple of Portunus (Temple of “Fortuna Virilis”) ca. 75BCE. Rome, Italy.
  9. 9. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  Small scale, modest temples of Republican period undergo change as Republic absorbs other cultural influences (like Hellenism) and as the Republic starts to get into trouble –  Scale changes from intimate to grandiose –  Late Classical and Hellenistic influences at work –  Demand for assertive statements of power as power begins to unglue demands large scale, imposing architecture Temple of Portunus (Temple of “Fortuna Virilis”) ca. 75BCE. Rome, Italy. Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, Palestrina, Italy, begun 100 BCE. Concrete.
  10. 10. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  Pompeii typical Roman city •  Civic center is forum •  Two-story colonnade •  Capitolium temple faces forum •  Basilica for administration and law •  Amphitheater built with concrete barrel vaults Aerial view of the forum, Pompeii, Italy. Second century BCE. Aerial view of the amphitheater, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 70BCE.
  11. 11. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  Elite live in inward-looking domus (most others live in apartment buildings, ostia) •  Central atrium, axial plan •  Cubiculae, triclinium, tablinium •  Peristyle courtyard •  Mural painting in four styles Atrium of the House of the Silver Wedding, 62-79CE. Restored view and plan of a typical Roman house dating to the Late Republic and Early Empire.
  12. 12. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  First Style Roman wall painting •  Artists aim was to imitate costly marble panels using a stucco technique •  Style is Greek in origin •  An example of Hellenization of Republican architecture First Style Roman wall painting in the fauces of the Samnite House, Herculaneum, Italy, late 2nd cent. BCE
  13. 13. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  Second style mural painting •  Illusion of three- dimensional world via linear perspective •  Atmospheric perspective for hazy distance Gardenscape from Villa of Livia, Primaporta, Itlay, ca. 30-20BCE. Second style wall painting. Fresco, 6 7 high. Museo Nazionale Romano- Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
  14. 14. Roman Art: The Republic Example : •  Second style Roman wall painting introduced ~80 BCE •  Villa of the Mysteries=best examples of second style frescoes •  Painters aim to dissolve room s confining walls and replace them with the illusion of an imaginary three- dimensional world •  Frescoes believed to capture Dionysiac mystery cult Dionysiac mystery frieze, ca. 60-50 BCE. Second style wall painting, Room 5 Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, Italy. Fresco, frieze 5’4” high.
  15. 15. Roman Wall Painting: Early Empire Example: •  Third Style Roman wall painting popular c. 15 BCE-60CE •  Roman patrons favor designs that reassert the primacy of wall surface •  Creates illusion of framed painting on wall •  Artist does not focus on landscape or narrative but instead on ornamentation •  Monochromatic backgrounds dominate •  At center of delicate architecture is found a tiny floating landscape Detail of a Third Style Roman wall painting from cubiculum 15 of the Villa of Agrippa Postumus, Boscotrecase, Italy, c. 10 BCE. Fresco, 7 8 high. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
  16. 16. Roman Wall Painting: Early Empire Example: •  Fourth Style Roman wall painting popular 100AD-76AD •  Combines elements of all 3 styles •  Characterized by crowded and confused compositions w/a mixture of fragmentary architectural vistas, framed panel paintings, and motifs favored in the 1st and 3rd style •  Three dimensionality unique characteristic of this 4th style Fourth style wall painting, Ixion Room (triclinium P) of the House of the Vetii, Pompeii, Italy, c. 70-79 CE. Fresco, multiple dimensions. Still life with peaches, detail of a Fourth Style wall painting, from Herculaneum, Italy, c. 62-79 CE. Fresco, 1 2 x1 1 ½. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples
  17. 17. Roman Wall Painting: Early Empire •  Roman citizens eager to prove they were cultured, educated themselves in Greek mythology and philosophy •  Paintings including Ulysses in the Land of the Lestrygonians demonstrate how Romans decorated their homes with frescoes advertising their knowledge of Greek literature Ulysses in the Land of the Lestrygonians, part of the Odyssey Landscapes, second style wall- painting from a house in Rome, late 1st cent. BCE. Fresco, approx. 5’ high.
  18. 18. Roman Art: The Republic Example: •  Romans practiced ancestor worship, patrician ancestor portraits (imagines) kept in home, displayed at funerals and used for impersonations •  Veristic likeness (highly realistic with particular features observed, continuation of Hellenistic trend) •  Artists neither idealize or interpret personality, report true likeness Head of an old man from Osimo, mid- first century BCE. Marble, life-size. Palazzo del Municipo, Osimo.
  19. 19. Roman Art: Early Empire Example: •  Emperor and Pontifex Maximus (highest priest in College of Pontiffs in Ancient Rome) •  Augustus ushers in Pax Romana (Period of Roman Peace) •  Idealized portrait molds public opinion •  Uses religion to solidify position •  Wears toga (something he would put over his head while performing rituals) and sandals of a patrician Portrait of Augustus as Pontifex Maximus, from Via Labicana, Rome, 90-100 AD. Marble, 6’8” high. Musei Vaticani, Rome.
  20. 20. Roman Art: Early Empire Example: •  Augustan style portrait •  Idealized image of emperor as general •  Placed throughout empire •  Right arm extends in orator gesture •  Breast plate (cuirass) mythological and allegorical figures representing peace and order •  Cupid and dolphin suggest Venus and the divine origins of emperor –  According to Virgil, Augustus related to Aeneas, son of Venus •  Bare feet suggest divinity Augustus of Primaporta, from Primaporta, Italy. Early first century BCE copy of bronze original. Marble, 6’8” high. Musei Vaticani, Rome.
  21. 21. Roman Art: Early Empire Example: •  Based on Hellenic models Augustus of Primaporta, Portrait of Augustus as general, from Primaporta, Italy. Early first century BCE copy of bronze original. Marble, 6’8” high. Musei Vaticani, Rome. Polykleitos, Doryphoros (Spear Bearer), Roman copy from Pompeii, Italy after bronze original, ca. 450-440BCE. Marble, 6 11. Naples National Archaeological Museum.
  22. 22. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Example: •  Altar of Augustan Peace. •  Under Augustus, Rome reaches Pax Romana, a period of peace and prosperity. •  Monument celebrates Augustus victory and establishment of peace. •  Decorated with figural and floral reliefs. •  It is during Pax Romana that Vergil writes Aeneid. Ara Pacis (Altar of Augustan Peace); looking northeast, 13-9 BCE. Marble, outer wall approx. 34 5 x 38 x23. Rome, Italy.
  23. 23. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Ara Pacis today with artistic renderings of Ara Pacis, 13-9 BCE.
  24. 24. Ancient Rome: Early Empire •  Imperial Procession recalls Panathenaic Procession from Parthenon. •  Romans preoccupied with history. •  Relief used to establish lineage, actual people represented, specificity of faces, gestures, and posture. •  Crowded overlapping figures contribute to dynamism and depth. Detail of Imperial Procession from Ara Pacis (Altar of Augustan Peace), 13-9 BCE. Marble, outer wall approx. 34 5 x 38 x23. Rome, Italy. Detail Panathenaic Procession from the Ionic frieze on the Parthenon, c. 447-438 BCE.
  25. 25. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Example: •  The peace and prosperity of Pax Romana featured in allegorical Mother Tellus relief. •  Exact identity of woman, debated. –  She has been identified as Pax, Ceres (Grain), and/or Venus •  Earth Mother shown with babies (Romulus and Remus) •  Fertility of scene evident in fruits, flowers, jug. •  Earth, sea, and air creatures testify to Rome’s dominance. Detail of Mother Tellus, from Ara Pacis (Altar of Augustan Peace), east façade, 13-9 BCE. Marble, 63” high. Rome, Italy.
  26. 26. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Example: •  Discovered 1760, commonly known as “Sappho fresco” •  Depicted is a high-society Pompeian girl, very well dressed with a gold threaded hair and large gold earrings •  Freeborn women in Ancient Rome born to affluent families could not vote or hold public office but did have the ability to effect change •  Possibly Sappho, a Greek lyric poet admired for her writing style Master of Herculaneum, Young girl with book and stylus (Sappho fresco), from a Roman house, Pompeii, c. 50 AD. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  27. 27. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Example: •  Women like Livia, married to Augustus, adopted into the wealthy and powerful Julian family, used their positions and connections to promote women’s rights •  Throughout her lifetime she served as wife and adviser to emperor Augustus, as mother to emperor Tiberius, and grandmother to emperor Claudius who deified her as Augusta –  As counselor to Augustus, she campaigned on behalf of women and argued for women’s rights and value, especially as mothers of future Roman soldiers •  Her portrait remained timeless and portrays Livia as forever young, something consistent with her position in the Roman state Portrait bust of Livia, from Arsinoe, Egypt, early 1st cent. CE. Marble, 1’ 1 ½” high. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
  28. 28. •  Romans excel at construction. •  It is the arch and concrete that make Roman structures possible.
  29. 29. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Example: •  Roman ingenuity seen in civic projects. •  Aqueduct a series of channels using gravity to deliver water. •  Concrete and arch used to deliver approx. 100 gallons/person of running water to Romans a day. •  As empire grew, these modern conveniences delivered to colonies. Pont du Gard, near Nîmes, Fance, c. 20-10 BCE. Stone, 180’ high, 900’ in length.
  30. 30. Ancient Rome: Early Empire Pont du Gard, near Nîmes, Fance, c. 20-10 BCE. Stone, 180’ high, 900’ in length. •  Romans used pipes most often made out of concrete, terra cotta, or even lead to help deliver the water from aqueducts to citizens Diagram How Aqueducts Work
  31. 31. Ancient Rome: Early Empire (The Flavians) Aerial view of the Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater), ca. 70-80CE. Rome, Italy. Example: •  Erected and dedicated to Roman people –  Construction begun under Vespasian –  Funded by spoils taken from Jewish Temple during siege of Jerusalem –  Triumphal monument •  Built over Nero’s Golden Palace •  Opening ceremonies included sea battles
  32. 32. Roman Art: Early Empire Example: •  Place of public spectacle funded by wealthy private families •  Concrete barrel-vaulted skeleton covered with marble •  Arches flanked by engaged columns and lintel for decoration •  Tuscan Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian styles present (bottom to top) •  Series of arcades turned inward •  Efficient traffic flow: 50,000 capacity •  Top covered by awning system •  Basement below to house gladiators and animals Detail of the façade of the Colosseum, 70-80CE.
  33. 33. Ancient Rome: Early Empire (The Flavians) Example: •  In contrast to Republican ancestor worship, Flavian portraiture depicts people of all ages •  Portrait of contemporary Roman idealized beauty –  Focus on fashion, not Greek gods/ goddesses •  New tools, namely the drill, allow for deep “corkscrew” curls •  Sharp contrast between flesh of face and neck and ringlets Portrait of a Flavian woman from Rome, Italy, c. 90 CE. Marble, 2’1” high. Musei Capitolini, Rome.
  34. 34. Roman Art: High Empire Example: •  Trajan enlarges empire •  Forum with temple, basilica, equestrian portrait, market nearby •  Column with Trajan s victories over Dacians in spiral narrative –  Images adjust for easy viewing •  Nude sculpture of emperor –  Replaced with sculpture of St. Peter •  Monument to Roman military prowess Column of Trajan, 112CE. Marble, 125’ high from base. Rome, Italy. Apollodorus of Damascus, Forum of Trajan, 112CE.
  35. 35. Roman Art: High Empire Example: •  Temple dedicated to gods of ancient Rome •  Plain exterior with temple portico façade before large dome •  Remains world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome Apollodorus of Damascus, Exterior view of the Pantheon at night, Rome, 117-125AD. Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa between 27 BCE and 14 AD, and rebuilt by Hadrian. Marble, brick, and concrete.
  36. 36. Roman Art: High Empire Example: •  Design based on harmony and balance of circle and square •  Emphasis on interior, not exterior •  Artistic rendering of interior of Pantheon shows its large oculus measuring 30’ in diameter, height of oculus, 142’ same as diameter of inner circle •  Interior decorated with different marbles, niches for sculptures •  “Dome of heaven” Giovanni Paolo Panini, The Interior of the Pantheon, 1734-1735. Oil on canvas, 4’ 2 ½” x 3’ 3.” National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
  37. 37. Roman Art: High Empire Restored cutaway view of the Pantheon, 118-125CE. Example: •  Concrete •  Cylindrical drum, hemispherical •  Coffering, oculus •  Architecture of space, not mass •  Colonnaded courtyard •  Porch with Corinthian columns and pediment
  38. 38. Roman Art: High Empire •  Design of Pantheon based on circle inscribed in square Cross-section of the Pantheon showing how a 30’ diameter sphere fits under its dome.
  39. 39. Roman Art: High Empire •  The concrete for the coffered dome was poured in moulds, probably mounted on temporary scaffolding. The oculus is the main source of natural light.
  40. 40. Roman Art: High Empire •  Buried within the Pantheon is the Renaissance artist, Rafael Sanzio de Urbino, (1483-1520) Raphael’s tomb inside the Pantheon
  41. 41. Roman Art: High Empire Example: •  Equestrian portrait •  Superhuman scale •  Gesture of greeting and clemency (reference to orator pose) –  Possible fallen enemy originally under horse •  Bringer of peace, not military force •  Introspective verism •  Gilded bronze •  Spared because thought to be Empreror Constantine Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, ca. 173CE. Bronze, 16’8” high. Capitoline Museum, Rome, Italy.
  42. 42. Roman Art: Late Empire Example: •  Empire in decline in late imperial era •  Basilica with colossal portrait of emperor •  Concrete groin vaults •  Marble facing inside and brick outside •  Fenestration for light Basilica Nova (Basilica of Constantine), ca. 306-312CE. Roman Forum, Rome, Italy. Portrait of Constantine, from the Basilica Nova, Rome, ca. 315-330 CE. Marble, 8’6” high. Musei Capitolini, Rome.
  43. 43. Roman Art: Late Empire Example: •  Acrolithic portrait of Constantine (c.280-337) –  Arms and legs marble, body brick core with wooden framework, possibly gilded bronze •  Emperor 306-337 •  Important figure in Christian history •  Edict of Milan, 313 AD •  Possible held Remains from the Colossus of Constantine, from the Basilica Nova, Rome, ca. 315-330 CE. Marble, approx 40’ high. Musei Capitolini, Rome.
  44. 44. Roman Art: Late Empire Example: •  Triumphal arch celebrates emperor s victories –  Last of its kind •  Relief sculpture from other monuments •  New sculpture reveals change in style •  Rejecting art as window onto world Arch of Constantine (south side), 312-315CE. Rome, Italy.