The art of Ancient Rome is a great creative heritage for many generations of descendants
The art of Ancient Rome includes a huge number of works of various types of artistic creation, dating back to the period from the 2nd century BC. e. – to the 5th century AD. The masterpieces created by skilled craftsmen of that era are still admired by millions of people. It is no coincidence that it was the art of Ancient Rome that for many centuries was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists of different historical eras, genres and styles.
Art in ancient Rome not only played an important aesthetic role in people’s lives, but was also widely used by wealthy strata of society to emphasize their high status. The palaces of the Roman elite of that era were decorated with sculptures, paintings and all kinds of decor, and luxurious jewelry was invariably present in the decoration of the nobility.
Art did not arise in ancient Rome from scratch. On the contrary, it absorbed the centuries-old achievements of neighboring cultural civilizations, mainly Greek and Etruscan. The unique merit of the Romans lies in the fact that they preserved for posterity and supplemented with their own masterpieces already existing forms of art, and also made it more accessible to the general population.
Although Rome was founded in the 8th century BC, for many centuries it remained a small town in which art developed very slowly. But by the middle of the 3rd century BC. e. the Romans conquered the Apennine Peninsula, then defeated Carthage during the Punic Wars and gradually established dominance over almost the entire Mediterranean.
An active aggressive policy led to the fact that Rome at that time became the largest center of the political, social and cultural life of the Mediterranean region. Here lived the richest people who led a luxurious life and generously paid for the work of artists. This led to the fact that the best masters of arts from different parts of the republic, and then the empire, moved to Rome en masse, which gradually disappeared into the local society.
It was the Greek artists who introduced the Romans to the achievements in the field of painting, sculpture, architecture and decorative and applied arts, their works for a long time remained the ideals of perfection for local craftsmen. Over the centuries, the Romans not only copied the best works of the ancient Greeks, but also created their own masterpieces. Thus, over the course of seven centuries, the unique ancient Roman art was formed, which much later became the fundamental basis for the emergence of the grandiose Renaissance era in world culture.
The main types of art of ancient Rome
The artists of the Roman era gave their descendants many unique examples of artistic creativity. These include the skillful work of jewelers, glassblowers, metalworkers. And yet, the main types of art in Ancient Rome include: Architecture. Sculpture. Painting. Mosaic.
The greatest contribution to the development of world culture among the ancient Roman art workers was undoubtedly made by architects. It was in this area that the Romans proved to be bold innovators and achieved amazing results.
Among the main achievements of architects of that time, the following inventions can be highlighted: Kreschaty vault. Semicircular arches without mortar. Dome (vaulted ceiling).
The Romans significantly improved the architectural developments of their Greek colleagues, thanks to which the grandiose construction of all kinds of buildings and structures began on a huge territory. In addition to luxurious temples and palaces, Roman architects created many public buildings: thermae (baths); aqueducts; forums; treatment facilities; tabularia (archives); basilicas (meeting places for the nobility); theaters and amphitheaters.
Many unique examples of ancient Roman architecture have survived to this day. Among them are the Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum), Baths of Caracalla and the Pantheon (Temple of All Gods).
In the field of sculpture, the Romans not only adopted the traditions of creating reliefs and volumetric compositions from the ancient Greeks, but also supplemented them with their own artistic innovations. The Roman sculptural portrait is distinguished by its extraordinary realism of the image; thousands of works by unknown authors have survived to this day. Most of the sculptures and busts are images of real historical figures in marble or bronze.
Triumphal arches and relief columns crowned with statues of emperors are also unique designs of ancient Roman sculptors. And the stone sarcophagi, decorated with skillful carvings, were ordered from the architects by the most influential people of that time in order to pay tribute to the memory of deceased relatives.
Roman painters significantly expanded the genre variety of their works in comparison with their ancient Greek counterparts. In addition to traditional mythological themes, numerous genre scenes, animal compositions and still lifes have appeared in their work. Erotic images also became widespread, and artists often exalted the power of the state in paintings dedicated to military triumphs and conquests.
Unfortunately, almost no easel painting has survived to this day, and the overwhelming majority of the frescoes survived only due to the fact that they were buried under a thick layer of volcanic ash in Pompeii and were discovered only in the middle of the 18th century during excavations.
The art of ancient Roman mosaics has also been almost completely lost today. The few surviving examples clearly indicate that the Romans borrowed this kind of art from the Greeks, and the masters most often used painted pieces of stone and ceramics to make panels. It was customary to decorate not only walls and floors, but also ceilings of all kinds of buildings with mosaic images framed with ornaments and geometric patterns. The heroes of the works were both mythical characters and real historical figures.
The influence of the art of Ancient Rome on the development of world culture can hardly be overestimated. It is of great interest to scientists and collectors. The masterpieces of the masters of that time have been admirable for several thousand years, and their value at art auctions is often estimated at astronomical amounts.