In the old age, the then Roman art was largely influenced by the Greeks and the Etruscans. Apparently, these two neighbors had already taken a leap forward in matters art before Rome turned Republic. Different from the Greeks works of art, the Romans mainly produced historical works made of different items for example bronze which was of differing sizes. The Romans closely practiced ancestor worship s(Stewart, 109). In essence, ancestors were venerated in a way where the citizens had sculptures and death masks made of these individuals, this way, recent generations would, therefore, participate in some ceremonies. This gave birth to the overall urge to make realistic arts in the then societal settings.
Primarily, in the Roman Republican period, individuals revered accomplishments especially those with close ties to the state. Some artists produced arts on the works of the state whereas some singled-out accomplishments especially through the use of portraiture (Sachant & Tekippe, 144). Apparently, citizens highly regarded accomplishments of their ancestors to an extent that there were representations of public sacrifices, celebrations for instance warfare victories such as the Monument of Aemilius (Sachant & Tekippe, 155). The then famous monument was erected at the heart of Apollo Sanctuary in remembrance of the Roman victory over King Perseus of Macedon in the battle of Pydna, to sum it all, the art was made of bronze atop a nearly rectangular shaped pillar which demonstrated how much individuals valued artwork in relation to accomplishments.
The Romans identified their portraiture by its realism which they referred to as veristic portraiture which was slightly similar to the Greek style. The style mainly focused on realistically portraying a particular subjects face with a lot of accuracies, especially in Greece. However, its use in Republican Rome slightly differed, in Rome, it was closely associated with customs, Roman values, and politics (Sachant & Tekippe, 155). Since the Romans took pride in their ancestors, they would make the arts more appealing simply because they idolized the subjects in the arts thus the art evolved from realism to idealism or the mixture of the two.
A great number of the artworks during this period often included wide range use of symbols and forms of imagery to aid in the conveyance of ideas (Thompson, 12). A good example is the Bayeux Tapestry and the Column of Trajan, with the latter having a height of about 3meters and highly detailed in commemoration of the old age Roman emperor (Stewart, 109). These two examples of works of art are decisive concerning the various events and battles preparation. The citizens believed in having a glimpse of everyday existence across eras alongside cultures, campaigns, and key players in historical occurrences.
The late Republican age was characterized by diminishing use of the veristic portraiture. The era marked the beginning of rising of individualistic powers due to threats posed by the then on-going civil wars (Stewart, 112). Julius Caesar and Pompey the great took charge in changing the style of portraits that they used, for instance, Pompey copied a curl of hairstyle from Alexander the great and made changes to his portrait that it triggered his audience to associate him to Alexanders qualities. It is then that citizens began to idolize Pompey.
The Republican Roman population took art with a grain of salt to an extent of putting its creation into consideration whereas closely linking it to their culture, for instance, they had ceremonies on the same (Thompson 15). The individuals would closely relate the Republican age over a range of time; the arts were a reflection of the idols.
Sachant, Pamela J, and Rita Tekippe. " Art Design Context and Meaning." Socio-Cultural Contexts, Symbolism, and Iconography- Meaning in Art. 2016. 130-158.
Stewart, Peter. "The Social History of Roman Art." London: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 108-115. Document.
Thompson, Nancy L. "Roman Art- A Resource for Educators." Met publications, 2007. 11-18. Document.
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