- Roman sculpture
Roman sculpturerefers to the sculptureof Ancient Rome. Roman sculpture often involved copying of Ancient Greek sculpture. Much Roman sculpture survives, although some of it is damaged. There are many surviving sculptures of Roman emperors. While Roman sculpture copied from the Greeks, it emphasized the individual to a greater extent, and many busts of famous but also anonymous people have survived. Tombstones of rich citizens often exhibit portraits of the deceased carved in relief, and sarcophagimay also be richly decorated.
Classical Roman sculpture began with the sack of Syracuse in
212 BCduring the Second Punic Warwith Carthage. A wealthy outpost of Greek civilization on the island of Sicily, Syracuse was thoroughly plundered and most of its magnificent Hellenisticsculpture was taken to Rome where it replaced the earlier styles of the Etruscan tradition. The Romans continued to admire the Hellenistic style, and eventually workshops throughout the Greek world (especially Asia Minor) provided the statuary without which no patrician villawas complete.
Greek artists settled in Rome after Greece was conquered in
146 BC, and many of these began making copies of Greek sculptures, which were popular in Rome.
Many sculptures were made of the Emperor
Augustuswhich portrayed him as a young man, and at later stages of his life. Bustsof following emperors were common and widely distributed.
Emperor Trajan's time, art from the eastern provinces of the empire began to have more influence on Roman sculpture.
Another example of Roman sculpture on a monumental scale is the
friezeof the Arch of Constantine.
Relief sculptures were shallow three dimensional carvings on flat surfaces, used for architectural works such as columns, arches and Temples. An example of this type of sculpture would be the
Ara Pacis(Altar of Peace) from 13 - 9 B.C. The Ara Pacis was a monument to the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace), 200 years of peace and prosperity ushered in by Emperor Augustus.
A famous later example of relief sculpture is
Trajan's Column, dating from 106 - 113 A.D. adorned with scenes of Trajan's battles from the wars in Daciain a continuous spiral around the column. The frieze shows numerous incidents from the campaigns, with many details showing soldiers at work, such as building forts or manning ballistae. A plaster replica of the column is exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museumin London. The Column of Marcus Aureliusis another example of the genre.
Free standing sculpture
The most important free standing sculptures were statues. Most Roman statues were destroyed during the many barbarian invasions of the empire, or by Christian rebuilding. The marble was burned for lime and the very valuable bronze melted down for re-use.
An outstanding example of a piece that survived is the
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius(Marcus Aurelius on a horse), dating from 161 - 180 A.D. Legend has it that the emperor's imposing demeanor spared the piece from destruction. It is now protected in a museum environment, with a replica outside in Rome.
Common locations for statues were in the
temples, the public baths or thermae, and the city forum (the social and commercial centre of the town).
History of sculpture
Pliny the elder
* " [http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/ent/A0860779.html Roman art: Sculpture] ". The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th edition. © 2006. Columbia University Press / Infoplease. Visited May 28, 2006.
* " [http://www.statue.com/roman-statues.html Roman Statues and Ancient Roman Sculpture] ". © 2006. Statue.com. Visited May 28, 2006.
* [http://ancientrome.ru/art/artworken/result.htm?sc=yes&st=Rome&ds=-800&de=500 Ancient Roman sculpture]
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