Roman Art & Architecture

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During the Imperial Era Rome ruled over the largest empire in the west. As a political, military, and administrative power Rome had no equals at that time, but as a culture they have been criticized for their selfish brutality and lack of creativity. Is this a fair assessment? For their art and architecture, is it true that they lacked creativity? How original were their designs and how much of them did they adopt from other cultures and artists?

To address these issues choose a Roman Imperial building or sculpture (ca. 27 BCE - 410 CE) (be sure it is not a sculpture copied from Greek or Hellenistic artists) and explain the ways it reflects Roman culture and assess its originality.

-If it is a building, what are its key features (be specific, descriptive, and analytical)? What was it's function? What does it tell us about Roman life? If it is a sculpture, what is the subject matter? Who payed for it (who was the patron) and why (if known)?

-Can your building or sculpture be construed as expressing the power of the Roman state; in other words, is it at least partially a work of propaganda?

-In terms of style, what elements (conceptual or specific designs) did they borrow from other cultures (e.g. the Eturscans, Greeks, Egyptians, etc.)? To what extent was their style original? Does your work show an evolution of style?

Be sure to present your facts and analysis in an organized way, addressing context, style (be sure to both describe and explain it whenever possible), functionand message (including use of symbolism). Also, embed an image of your choice in your post if possible.

Possible choices include the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, an aqueduct, the Augustus of the Prima Porta, The Procession of the Imperial Family (or any relief from the Ara Pacis Augustae) the Spoils of Jerusalem from the Arch of Titus, the reliefs from the Column of Trajan or the Colossal Head of Constantine.

If you do outside research, be sure to cite your sources and paraphrase the information you have gathered. This submission needs to be in your own words. I want to know what you have learned from the module and what you think about Roman culture, art and creativity.

Carpe diem!

Detail of the Augustus of the Prima Porta (top) & The Spoils of Jerusalem (from the Arch of Titus) (bottom)


600 Words 

  • Posted: a month ago
  • Due: 
  • Budget: $8.5
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