Art of Ancient Rome:
Rome’s art, after having
suffered Italian and Etruscan influences, (decoration of the
Giove Capitolino Temple, Lupa bronzea dei Musei Capitiloni
(bronzes) since the 4th Century BC, assumed peculiar characteristics
after the conquest of the Magna Grecia (Greater Greece) and
the progressive assimilation of Greek and Ellenistic art.
The geometric-decorative solutions with Greek derivations
happily completed the realistic tendencies originally from
Latina, inspired above all for religious reasons (learned
from ancestors) and civilizations (esaltazione della gens)
obvious in portraits of the imagines maiorum (Roman ancestral
masks of deceased family members) and in the decoration of
the temples (fregio della Basilica Emilia – embellishment
on the Cathedral).
The Ellenistic style was imposed during the Silla age (88-80
BC): the monumentality of the temples and the pictorial portrait
techniques (Pompeo, Cicerone) offer examples of the most significant
of these tendencies. In the architectonic field, two innovative
and original factors are also recorded with respect to the
Greek solutions: the introduction of brick for use in construction,
the use of dell’arco a tutto sesto (rounded arch shape)
and the vaults (Tabularium sul Campidoglio). The fusion between
realism and ellenism offers significant examples of a search
for equilibrium between traditions and innovations (Frieze
of Ara by Domizio Enobarbo).
During the Augustea era (42 BC-14 AD) the full assimilation
of Attici solutions favoured the rise of a classical conception,
well testified by the Ara Pacis Augustae (13-9 BC) where landscape,
Ellenistic orientation (floral decorations) and realistic
(figures from the Imperial Court) reliefs were added to the
linear forms; in the search of that characteristic, sober
equilibrium of the Attica production.
The artistic renewal also touched civil architecture (Augusto’s
forum), that of public utilities (aqueducts, bridges, warehouses,
fortifications, thermal baths, markets), painting (paintings
in the house of Livia a Primaporta, reconstructed today in
the National Roman Museum), the production of ornamental objects
(silver ware, Cameos of Dioscuride) and extended to the provinces
for all of the I AD (Giulio-Claudia and Flavia dynasty).