Roman sculpture

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Roman sculpture refers to the sculpture of Ancient Rome. Roman sculpture often involved copying of Ancient Greek sculpture. Much Roman sculpture survives, although some of it is damaged with parts broken off. There are many surviving sculptures of Roman emperors. While Roman sculpture copied from the Greeks, it also more emphasised the individual.

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[edit] History

Classical Roman sculpture began with the sack of Syracuse in 212 BC during the Second Punic War with Carthage. A wealthy outpost of Greek civilization on the island of Sicily, Syracuse was thoroughly plundered and most of its magnificent Hellenistic sculpture 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 villa was 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.

Image:TrajanXanten.jpg
Statue of Trajan, Roman Emperor from 98 AD - 117 AD

Many sculptures were made of the Emperor Augustus which portrayed him as a young man, even when he was older.

During Emperor Trajan's time, art from the eastern provinces of the empire began to have more influence on Roman sculpture.

One of the last examples of Roman sculpture on a monumental scale is the frieze of the Arch of Constantine.

[edit] Relief sculptures

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.

Another example of relief sculpture would be Trajan's Column, dating from 106 - 113 A.D. adorned with scenes of Trajan's battles in a continuous spiral around the column, and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, modelled on it.

[edit] Free standing sculpture

Free standing sculptures refers to sculptures such as statues. Most of this work was destroyed during barbarian invasion or Christian rebuilding. The marble was burned for lime and the bronze melted for other purposes. 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. Common locations for statues were in the temples, the public baths or the city Forum (the social and commercial center of the town).

[edit] Portrait sculpture

Portrait sculptures were often busts of famous Romans. Subjects for these sculptures would include various patricians and especially emperors - multiple copies of which were circulated around the empire. Roman portrait sculpture embodied Roman civic virtues and has set the standard for European (and American) public portrait sculpture ever since. One well known example is the bust of Emperor Constantine the Great.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Roman sculpture

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