Roman Art Fact Sheet

Review and study key facts about Roman Art. This will prepare you for the assessments.

1. Definition: Roman art refers to the visual arts made in Ancient Rome and in the territories of the Roman Empire, spanning from the 8th century BC to the 5th century AD.

2. Influences: Roman art was heavily influenced by Greek art, Etruscan art, and art from various parts of the Empire including Egypt and Persia.

3. Characteristics: Roman art is often characterized by its practicality and emphasis on realism and detail. While it shares the focus on the human form with Greek art, Roman artists were more interested in portraying realistic, individualized character, and everyday life.

4. Sculpture: Roman sculpture includes portraiture, historical relief, funerary reliefs, sarcophagi, and statues. While borrowing from Greek sculpture (particularly the Hellenistic period), Roman sculptors emphasized realistic, emotional, and dynamic representations.

5. Mosaics and Paintings: Romans decorated their homes with wall paintings and floor mosaics. They often depicted scenes from mythology, history, and everyday life, as well as landscapes and still lifes.

6. Architecture: Roman architecture utilized a new type of design based on the arch and dome, along with concrete, which were not prevalent in Greek architecture. Notable structures include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman aqueducts.

7. Famous Works:

  • The Colosseum: This is the largest amphitheater ever built, used for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.
  • The Pantheon: This temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome is considered one of the best preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings and has been in continuous use throughout its history.
  • Augustus of Prima Porta: A statue of Augustus Caesar which is one of the most famous pieces of Roman sculpture.

8. Frescoes: Roman murals, or frescoes, were painted with watercolors on wet plaster and were often used to mimic architectural features or natural views.

9. End of Roman Art: With the decline of the Roman Empire, the traditional forms of Roman art evolved into new styles, often called Early Christian or Byzantine art.

10. Legacy: Roman art has had a significant impact on Western art, influencing the Renaissance, Neoclassical, and even contemporary art styles. Roman architecture, in particular, has had a profound influence on building practices throughout history.

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