Chapter 7: Roman Art
PART ONE: THE ANCIENT WORLD
CHAPTER SEVEN: ROMAN ART
Temple of Fortuna Virillis, p. 158, 7-2-3
Temple of the Sibyl, p. 158, 7-4-5
Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia,
p. 159, 7-6
LArringatore, p. 168, 7-25
A Roman Patrician with Busts
Ancestors, p. 169, 7-26
Pont du Gard, p. 160, 7-9
The Colosseum, p. 161, 7-10-11
The Pantheon, p. 162, 7-12-13-14-15
The Basilica of Constantine,
p. 164, 7-16-17-18
Basilica, Leptis Magna,
p. 165, 7-19-20
Atrium, House of the Silver Wedding,
Insula, House of Diana,
p. 166, 7-22
Market Gate from Miletus,
p. 167, 7-23
Augustus of Prima Porta,
p. 170, 7-27
Vespasian, p. 171, 7-29
Trajan, p. 171, 7-30
Ara Pacis, p. 172, 7-31-32-34
Arch of Titus, p. 174, 7-35-36
Column of Trojan, p. 175, 7-37
Apotheosis of Sabina, p. 176, 7-38
Meleager Sarcophagus, p. 176, 7-39
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius,
p. 177, 7-40
The Tetrarchs, p. 179, 7-44
Constantine the Great, p. 180, 7-45
Arch of Constantine, pp. 181-2, 7-46-47
Wall paintings from Pompeii,
pp. 183-188, 7-48 through 54
Portrait of a Boy, from Faiyum,
p. 189, 7-55
- Roman temples that developed during the Republican period echo the Greek
- Early evidence of Roman building characteristics can be seen in the sanctuary
of Fortuna Primigenia at Palestrina, east of Rome. Dating from the early 1st
century B.C., this complex exhibits an early use of concrete, barrel vaults,
and engaged columns.
- The Forum of Caesar, constructed during the end of Julius Caesars
life, furnished the prototype for all later Imperial forums.
- Impressive examples of Roman architecture in the Provinces include the Pont
du Gard and the Maison Carrée in Nimes.
- The potential of vaults and arches and the use of concrete was explored
by the Romans in such buildings as the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Basilicia
- Roman sculpture had its origins in Etruscan and Greek art. During the Republican
period, sculptors sought to create veristic (accurate and faithful) portraits
of individuals, a practice that may be derived from Roman ancestor veneration.
- A new trend in Roman portraiture emerges with the reign of the Emperor Augustus,
that of giving the emperor divine status. Inspired by the Doryphoros
by Polykleitos, the Augustus of Primaporta carries various levels of
- The most important of Augustus monuments was the Ara Pacis, built
to commemorate his triumphal return to Rome after establishing Roman rule
in Spain and Gaul in13 BC.
- Roman houses and villas followed a regular plan, with rooms arranged along
a longitudinal axis from the entrance to the garden. An interior courtyard
or room, known as the atrium, also defined Roman domestic architecture.
- Late Roman portraiture moves away from the highly realistic busts of Republican
and early Imperial Roman sculpture. During the late Roman Empire, we witness
a new abstracted patterning that exalts an inner spiritual life rather than
an exact portrait representation. The Collassal head of Constantine, from
the early 4th century AD, combines specific physical traits with
- New spiritual attitudes are evident in late antiquity in the writings of
Plotinus. Eventually this anti-physical attitude will correlate with the development
of Early Christian Art.
- Roman illusionist painting, also known as trompe loeil ("fool
the eye") was indebted to an earlier tradition that developed in Greece.
Paintings such as Still Life with Eggs and Thrushes or Garden,
from the Villa of Livia are meant to amuse and delight us, as was recognized
by Philostratus the Younger, writing about 300 A.D.
- Like painting, mosaics originated in Greece but were common in Rome during
the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.
- A large quantity of Roman craft art also survives including coins, glass
vases, and cameos.
- Discuss how the "Temple of Fortuna Virilis" exemplifies Roman
- Discuss the plan of a typical Roman house.
- Discuss the characteristics of a typical Roman basilica. How does the Basilica
of Constantine in Rome differ from the standard design?
- Compare and contrast Roman portraits of the Republican times with those
of Imperial Rome.
- What aspects of Roman engineering enabled the Pont du Gard, the Pantheon,
and the Colosseum to be constructed? What was the purpose of each of these
- What is meant by the term illusionism and how is it achieved in the Wall
Painting from the Villa of Livia at Primaporta?
- Roman architecture was both inventive and derivative. How is the Maison
Carrée related to both Greek and Etruscan designs? What specific aspects
of the design are uniquely Roman?
- In what ways do primary sources such as the writings of Pliny the Elder,
Vitravius, Plutarch, Vergil, Livy, Polybius, and Dio Cassiu, assist our understanding
of the art of the Romans?
- How would you characterize changes in Imperial Roman portraiture through
the age of Constantine?
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Ancient Civilizations of the Mediterranean. CD-ROM, FFTH.
Ancient Rome. VHS, FFTH. 49 min.
Cyber Rome. VHS, FFTH. 38 min.
Intimate Details of Roman Life. VHS, FFTH. 27 min.
Journey through Ancient Pompeii. VHS, FFTH. 25 min.
Pompeii, City of Painting. VHS, VOA. 12 min.
Pompeii: Daily Life of the Ancient Romans. FFTH. 45 min.
Romans, CD-ROM. FFTH.
The Beginnings: The Greeks and Romans. VHS, FFTH. 24 min.
The Roman Arena. VHS, FFTH. 50 min.