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ART HISTORY: The Roman Empire (Republic through Late Empire) (7)

• Monarchy and Republic, 753-27 BCE • Early Empire, 27 BCE-96 CE • High Empire, 96-192 CE • Late Empire, 193-337 CE
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Monarchy and Republic, 753-27 BCE
• According to legend, Romulus and Remus founded Rome in 753 BCE. In the 6th century, Etruscan kings ruled the city and Roman art was Etruscan in character.
• In the centuries following the establishment of the Republic (509-27 BCE), Rome conquered its neighbors in Italy and then Greece, brining exposure to Greek arts.
• Romans pioneered the use of concrete as a building material.
• Republican portraits were usually superrealistic likenesses of elderly patricians and celebrated traditional Roman values.
Temple of Portunus
Temple of Portunus (aka Temple of "Fortuna Virilis"); Rome, Italy; ca. 75 BCE
• A pseudoperipteral temple: a peripteral Greek temple with a basic Etruscan plan
• Republican temples combine Etruscan plans and Greek elevations
• Ionic order, but staircase and freestanding columns in front
Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia
Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia; Palestrina, Italy; late second century BCE
• "The goddess of good fortune"
• Made possible by the use of concrete barrel vaults for terraces, ramps, shops, and porticos spread out over several levels
• A tholos temple crowned the complex
Roman concrete construction:
• Romans developed concrete construction, which revolutionized architectural design
• Concrete: made from a changing recipe of lime mortar, volcanic sand, water, and small stones
• Concrete was cheaper but long procedure to make...stronger
• Barrel vaults: an extension of a simple arch, creating a semicylindrical ceiling over parallel walls
• Buttressing: lateral support
• Groin vaults: formed by the intersection at right angles of two barrel vaults of equal size. Groin vault is lighter than BV and needs less buttressing.
• Piers: points where groins meet the vault's vertical supports
• Hemispherical domes: used concrete to construct hemispherical domes, which usually rested on concrete cylindrical drums
Head of an old man
Head of an old man; Osimo, Italy; mid-first century BCE
• Portraits were usually just men of an elder age (because these were the typical people who held power in the Republic)
• These patricians and elites did not ask to be nobler than they were, rather, wanted to be brutally realistic images
• Veristic= superrealistic
• Very single bulge, wrinkle, or change in the facial surface is recorded...some think it is super real or exaggerated to show personality (loyal, serious, etc)
• head alone was enough to constitute a portrait (unlike Greeks)
Portrait of a Roman general
Portrait of a Roman general; from the Sanctuary of Hercules, Tivoli, Italy; ca. 75-50 BCE
• Veristic heads were usually placed atop unrealistic bodies
• This general has a lined, older face but his body is ripped, youthful and almost nude
• Shows patrician cultural superiority and elevated the person portrayed to heroic status
Funerary relief with portraits of the Gessii
Funerary relief with portraits of the Gessii; Rome, Italy; ca. 30 BCE
• Slaves were not allowed to possess any family portraits because under Roman law, their parents and grandparents were not people but property
• Freed slaves, however, often ordered portrait reliefs for their tombs to celebrate their new status as Roman citizens
Denarius with portrait of Julius Caesar
Denarius with portrait of Julius Caesar; Rome, Italy; ca. 44 BCE; silver; diameter ¾''
• Julius Caesar was the first to place his own portrait on the Roman coinage during his lifetime
• Ancestral portraits placed on Republican coins
• Coin shows his aging face and receding hairline...abiding to veristic tradition
• Coin, which circulated throughout the empire, was used to mold the public opinion in favor of the ruler by announcing his achievements—real and fictional
Pompeii's forum
Pompeii's forum; Pompeii, Italy; second century BCE
• Forum: center of civic life in any Roman town
• At Pompeii, colonnades frame a rectangular plaza with the Capitolium at the northern end
• Basilica: housed the court of Pompeii and was used for other official purposes
• Romans converted a temple into a Capitolium (a triple shrine of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva—the chief Roman gods)
Typical Roman House
• Restored view and plan of a typical Roman house of the Late Republic and Early Empire
• 1) fauces 2) atrium 3) impluvium 4) cubiculum 5) ala 6) tablinum 7) triclinium 8) peristyle
First Style Roman wall painting
• Samnite House
• Aim was to imitate marble panels using painted stucco relief
Second Style Roman wall painting
• Villa of the Mysteries
• Second style paintings aimed to dissolve room's confining walls and replace them with imaginary three-dimensional world
Second Style Roman wall painting
• Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor
• Vistas of towns, temples, colonnaded courtyards
Second Style Roman wall painting
• Villa of Livia
• "Picture-window" were common in second style
• Artist intentionally blurred far away objects for perspective
Third Style Roman wall painting
• Villa at Boscotrecase
• floating landscape on a black ground (central motif)
• Painters decorated walls with delicate linear fantasies sketched on monochromatic backgrounds
Fourth Style Roman wall painting
• Domus Aurea
• Creamy white walls
• Views through the wall reveal irrational architectural vistas depict the new Fourth Style
Fourth Style Roman wall painting
• Ixion Room of House of Vettii
• murals are often garishly colored, crowded, and confused compositions - framed mythological panel paintings
Neptune and Amphitrite
• Neptune and Amphitrite; from Herculaneum, Italy; ca. 62-79 CE.
• Wall mosaic in the summer triclinium of the House of Neptune and Amphitrite
• In the ancient world, mosaics were usually confined to floors, but this example depicts the decorating of the wall of a private house
Portrait of a husband and wife
• Portrait of a husband and wife; from Pompeii, Italy; ca. 70-79 CE; fresco
• The husband and wife wished to present themselves to their guests and thoughtful and well-read.
• Portraits are individualized likenesses, but the poses and attributes they hold are standard types
Early Empire, ca. 27 BCE-96 CE
• Augustus (r. 27 BCE-14 CE) became the first Roman emperor after defeating Mark Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium in 21 BCE.
• Augustan art revived the Classical style with frequent references to Periclean Athens. Augustus's ambitious building program made lavish use of marble, and his portraits always depicted him as an idealized youth.
• Under the Julio-Claudians (r.14-68 CE), the full potential of concrete began to be realized in buildings such as the Golden House of Nero.
• The Flavian emperors (r. 69-96 CE) erected the Colosseum, Rome's first and largest amphitheater, and arches and other monuments celebrating their victory in Judaea.
• Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried in 79 CE during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. During the last quarter century the towns' existence, the Third and Fourth Styles were used to decorate the walls of houses.
Augustus at Primaporta
Portrait of Augustus as general; Primaporta, Italy early-first-century CE copy of bronze original of ca. 20 BCE; Early Empire
• Currently he is recipient of the civic crown for saving the lives of fellow citizens
• Augustus's (aka Octavian) idealized portraits were modeled on Classical Greek statues and depict him as a never-aging son of a god. This portrait presents the emperor in armor in his role as general.
• Every town through the Roman Empire had portraits of the emperors and their families...symbolic of his "presence" throughout his empire
• Numerous different depictions of Augusts (some brave warrior, some veiled priest)
• Augustus brought peace & prosperity (Pax Romana)
• The reliefs on his cuirass show return of the Roman military standards the Parthians had captured from a Repubican general
• Cupid at feet alludes to his divine descent
Bust of Livia
Portrait bust of Livia; Arsinoe, Egypt; early first century CE; Early Empire; marble (basically all are marble)
• Her youthful appearance and sharply defined features derive from images of Greek goddesses
• Eternal youthfulness, like Augustus
• Livia is an imperial woman of the Augustan age
• She is sporting the latest Roman coiffure (hairstyle)
Ara Pacis Augustae
Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace); Rome, Italy; ca. 13-9 BCE; Early Empire
• August us sought to present his new order as a Golden Age equaling that of Athens under Pericles
• This monument celebrates the establishment of peace
• The four panels depict selected mythological subjects, which allude and show Augustus's heritage that relates to some gods
• The connection between Augustus and Aeneas (a god) was a key political ideology strategy for him
Female personification
Female personification (Tellus); panel from the east façade of the Ara Pacis Augustae; Rome, Italy; ca. 13-9 BCE; Early Empire
• Female personification with two babies on her lap epitomizes the fruits of the Pax Augusta
• All around her the bountiful earth is in bloom, and animals of different species (like the varying subjects of the Roman Empire) live together peacefully
• Tellus= Mother Earth
Procession of the imperial family
Procession of the imperial family; detail of the south frieze of the Ara Pacis Augustae; Rome, Italy; ca. 13-9 BCE; Early Empire
• This frieze depicts recognizable individuals, including children
• Augustus used these children in the picture (very rare) to promote marriage, marriage fidelity, childbearing because the birthrate among the Roman nobility was down
• Augustus used art to further his political and social agendas
Pont-du-Gard
Pont-du-Gard; Nimes, France; ca. 16 BCE; Early Empire
• Roman engineers constructed roads and bridges throughout the empire
• this is an aqueduct bridge that brought water from a distant mountain spring to Nimes—about 100 gallon a day for each person
• cleaner water, more efficient town, settlements and cities not near immediate water sources
• water was gravity over 30 mile by gravity alone!—Tiber River
• Arches are harmoniously proportional and aesthetically nice
Porta Maggiore
Porta Maggiore; Rome, Italy; ca. 50 CE; Early Empire
• Supports water channels of 2 important aqueducts
• This double gateway is an example of Roman rusticated (rough) masonry, esp. popular under Claudius
• The attic (uppermost story) is even decorated so you can't see the aqueducts...care about looks and practicality
Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater)
Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater); Rome, Italy; ca. 70-80 CE; Early Empire
• New Flavian Dynasty takes over under Vespasian (r. 69-79 CE) and starts to build this
• Built on the land that Nero had confiscated for private pleasure
• Complex system of concrete barrel-vaulted corridors
• 50,000 spectators could watch gladiatorial combats and wild animal hunts (venationes)
• Colosseum was even flooded with complex aqueduct and draining systems to show the crowd live naval battles
Portrait of Vespasian
Portrait of Vespasian; Rome, Italy; ca. 75-79 CE; Early Empire
• Revived veristic tradition of the Republican to underscore the elderly new emperor's Republican values in contrast to Nero's self-indulgence and extravagance
• Receding hairline, wrinkled face, aging, leathery skin
• His portraits reflect his simpler taste
Bust of a Flavian woman
Portrait bust of a Flavian woman; Rome, Italy; ca. 90 CE; Early Empire
• Elaborate coiffure (hairstyle) of this elegant woman was created by drilling deep holes for the corkscrew curls and carved the rest of the hair and the face with a hammer and chisel
• Dense mass of light and shadow
• Swanlike neck
• Drilling technique was used (for hair) on many more portraits
Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus; Rome, Italy; after 81 CE; Early Empire
• Domitian erected this arch on the road leading into the Roman Forum to honor his brother, Titus...Titus became a god after death
• Triumphal arch: arches that commemorated events or people
• Ornate combination of Ionic volutes and Corinthian leaves
• Victories fill the spandrels (the area between the arch's curve and the framing columns and entablature) of the arcuated passageway
• Reliefs inside the Sacred Way show Titus's conquest of Judaea at the end of the Jewish Wars in 70 CE
High Empire, ca. 96-192 CE
• The Roman Empire reached its greatest extent under Trajan (r. 98-117 CE). The emperor's new forum and markets transformed the civic center of Rome. The Column of Trajan commemorated his two campaigns in Dacia in a spiral frieze with thousands of figures.
• Haddrian (r. 117-138 CE), emulating Greek statements and philosophers, was the first emperor to wear a beard. He built the Pantheon, a triumph of concrete technology.
• Under the Antonines (r. 138-192 CE), the dominance of Classical art began to erode, and imperial artists introduced new compositional schemes in relief sculpture and a psychological element in portraiture.
Forum of Trajan
Forum of Trajan; by Apollodorus of Damascus; Rome, Italy; ca. 112 CE; High Empire
• (1) Temple of Trajan, (2) Column of Trajan, (3) libraries, (4) Basilica Ulpia, (5) forum, (6) equestrian statue of Trajan
• Rome's largest forum...it glorified Trajan's victories in his two wars against the Dacians (present-day Romania)
• Apollodorus was Trajan's military engineer during those wars
Column of Trajan
Column of Trajan; Forum of Trajan, Rome, Italy; ca. 100-112 CE; High Empire
• Spiral frieze of Trajan's column tells the story of the Dacian Wars in 150 episodes
• Battles to sacrifices to road and fort construction
• The idea of a storyteller column is repeated in 16th cent. and on
• Low relief so that it didn't distort shape of column
• Romans understand they won b/c organized, not superiority
Markets of Trajan*
Markets of Trajan; by Apollodorus; Rome, Italy; ca. 100-112 CE; High Empire
• Apollodorus used brick-faced concrete to transform the Quirinal Hill overlooking Trajan's forum into a vast multilevel complex of barrel-vaulted shops and administrative offices
• Resembles a modern day shopping mall...housed 2 floors of shops, with the upper ones set back and lit by skylights
• Symbolizes unity and interconnectedness of the subjects of the Roman Empire
• Displays grandeur and leisure time...things must be going well in a civilization for such creations and time
Arch of Trajan
Arch of Trajan; Benevento, Italy; ca. 114-118 CE; High Empire
• Almost identical to Titus's arch in Rome, but reliefs cover both faces of the Trajanic arch
• Military conquests, distributing food to needy children, Jupiter (a god) handing his thunderbolt to Trajan, etc.
• An "advertisement billboard" of the emperor's many achievements→propaganda
Pantheon
Pantheon; Rome, Italy; ca. 118-125 CE; High Empire
• Hadrian's "temple of all gods"
• Once again, concrete innovations made this building possible
• Its traditional façade masked its revolutionary cylindrical drum and its huge hemispherical dome (142 ft in diameter)
• Romans architects were the first to conceive of architecture in terms of units of space that could be shaped by the enclosures
Interior of the Pantheon
Interior of the Pantheon; Rome, Italy; ca. 79 CE; High Empire
• the light entering through its oculus form a circular beam that moves across the dome as the sun moves across the sky
• The coffers (sunken decorative panels) lessened the dome's weight without weakening its structure
• Dome's thickness decreases as it nears oculus
• The interior symbolized both the orb of the earth and the vault of the heavens
Al-Khazneh ("Treasury")
Al-Khazneh ("Treasury"); Petra, Jordan; second century CE; 130 ft; High Empire
• Rock-cut tomb facade is a prime example of Roman "baroque" architecture
• Designer used Greek architectural elements in a purely ornamental fashion and with a studied disregard for Classical rules
Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina
Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina; pedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius; Rome, Italy; ca. 161 CE; High Empire
• Representation of apotheosis (ascent to Heaven) of Antoninus (r. 138-161 CE) and wife, Faustina
• Is firmly in the Classical tradition with its elegant, well-proportioned figures, personifications, and single ground line
Decursio
Decursio; pedestal of the Column of Antonius Pius; Rome, Italy; ca. 161 CE; High Empire
• Unlike Apotheosis ^^, this relief breaks sharply with Classical art conventions
• Ground is the whole surface of the relief, and the figures stand on floating patches of earth
• Romans become bored with Classical art and adopt some non-Classical conventions of the lower classes
Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius
Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius; Rome, Italy; ca. 175 CE; High Empire
• Aurelius is an omnipotent conqueror
• Emperor stretches out his arm in a gesture of mercy
• An enemy once cowered beneath the horse's raise leg
• Emperor is superhuman and shows grandeur of his reign & him
• For the first time, the strain of constant warfare and the burden of ruling a worldwide empire show in the emperor's face
Mummy portrait of a priest of Serapis
Mummy portrait of a priest of Serapis; Hawara (Faiyum), Egypt; ca. 140-160 CE; encaustic on wood; High Empire
• In Roman times, the Egyptians continued to bury their dead in mummy cases, but painted portraits replaced the traditional masks
• This was painted in encaustic—colors mixed with hot wax
• Symbolizes the cultural diffusion amongst the subjected areas of the Roman Empire
Late Empire, ca. 193-337 CE
• In the art of the Severans (r. 193-235), the Late Antique style took root. Artists represented the emperor as a central frontal figure disengaged from the action around him.
• During the chaotic era of the soldier emperors (r. 235-284 CE), artists revealed the anxiety and insecurity of the emperors in moving portraits.
• Diocletian (r. 284-305 CE) reestablished order by sharing power. Statues of the tetrarchs portray the four emperors as identical and equal rulers, not as individuals.
• Constantine (r. 206-227 CE) restored one-man rule, ended persecution of the Christians, and transferred the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople 330. The abstract formality of Constantine art paved the way for the ionic art of the Middles Ages.
Severan Portraiture
Portrait of Septimius Severus and his family; from Egypt; ca. 200 CE; tempera on wood
• Only portrait of emperor Severus shows him with grey hair
• Emperor, wife, two sons—Geta's head was removed after his damnatio memoriae
• Emperor is depicted with grey hair
Portrait of Caracalla
Portrait of Caracalla, ca. 211-217 CE, marble, 1' 2" high
• Suspicious personality is captured
• Brow is knotted, abruptly turned head over left shoulder—danger from behind
Trebonianus Gallus
Portrait of Trebonianus Gallus, Rome, Italy, 251-253 CE, bronze, 7' 11" high
• Nude statue
• Massive physique of powerful wrestler but with a nervous expression
• sculpture of contradicting ideas
• shows nervousness of a ruler—new to time
Arch of Constantine
Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy, 312-315
• Decoration came from monuments of Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus, Aurelius
• Influenced by many other monuments
Colossus of Constantine
Portrait of Constantine; from Basilica, Nova, Rome, Italy; ca. 315-330 CE; marble, 8' 6" high
• Revive Augustan image of an eternally youthful ruler
• portrayal of ruler in eternal youth
Constantine Coins
Constantine Coins
• Coins with portraits of Constantine, Nummus, billon and silver, diameter 1"
• One side he has a beard and on the other he looks eternally youthful
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