Greek vs Roman ART

Throughout history, there are plenty of examples of influential movements from previous cultures or nations. The historical progression of innovation and creativity is ever-moving and will always continue to progress based on our natural creativity given to us within our human abilities. Artistic influence and progression is among the greatest examples to look at how previous cultures provide a means in which modern cultures pay attribute to a particular influential period of artistic innovation. With that said, an excellent example of this concept put into practice, is the major contribution Ancient Greek sculpture had within the development and creation of Roman sculpture. In the successful eras, the Greek and Roman Empires were separated by about three-hundred years, the fifth century to the eighth century. Roman sculptors deeply admired the innovation of the actual means in which Greeks erected their sculptures and sought to utilize the Greek-inspired technique of individuals standing upright. However, the major contrast between the Greek sculptures and Roman sculptures is the meaning and significance behind the majority of the pieces. Ancient Greeks, when developing sculptures focused much of their works on Greek gods and goddesses as a means of worship and honoring of their lordship. When progressing further to the ancient Roman artists, sculptors incorporated the realistic human approach of building and carving well-formed, athletic men and women, but a lot of the focus of Roman sculpture was to pay homage to Roman rulers of their day. Although Greek religion, by Christian standards, is considered secular, Roman art, specifically in sculptural art displays the secularization of religion from the Greek beliefs to the Roman beliefs. However, Roman art in Christian standards is more God-like than that of the Greek sculpture, due to the fact that Christians believe in monotheism, having one God, rather than the Greeks portraying belief in multiple gods who possess different powers or rule that apply to particular systems of belief. Although art is not the only means of finding out this information, it is a very powerful tool to trace the historical influence that the Ancient Greeks had on the Roman Empire. In the background, a lot of Greek beliefs were actually considered “Hellenists”, later considered by the Romans as “Pagans”. The belief of Paganism, mostly defined by Christians, in general is a term to associate those who do not subscribe to Abrahamic religions. Following the Ancient Greek sculpture up to the Roman Empire sculpture, it is apparent that there was a shift in popular religious belief. The belief in ancient Greek gods and goddesses fell by the wayside, and Christianity had taken its place in the Roman Empire, becoming the national religion. What was once popularized by the Greek Empire as “secular” the belief-system held by Roman’s roughly three-centuries later held the same understanding of the Ancient Greek beliefs. The influence and evolution of sculpture from the Ancient Greeks to the Romans tells a great deal of the historical events that took place. Following the stories of famous sculptural works, there is much to understand how Ancient Greek sculptors influenced Roman sculptors, but yet the Roman Empire displayed it’s own influence on the future world itself. 

Pergamon Altar, Unknown, c. 170 BCE - c. 160 BCE, From the collection of: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
The Altar Of Zeus at Pergamon has intricate and ornate carvings at the base also known as the frieze; depicting the war between the gods and the Titans along with images of Athena and Zeus throughout.
[Column of Marcus Aurelius - Rome], Tommaso Cuccioni, 1850–1859, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
The Column of Marcus Aurelius is a Roman sculpture measuring in at 130.3 feet in height and features a spiral relief all the way up the shaft of the column.
David Lees, 1967, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
The spiral picture relief tells the story of Marcus Aurelius’ Danubian or Marcomannic wars, waged by him from 166 to his death.
David Lees, 1967, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
Despite the unknown of when this piece was built it is known that it was completed in 193.
Figure thought to be of Dionysos from the east pediment of the Parthenon, -438/-432, From the collection of: British Museum
The East Pediment is stunning Greek work of art is a representation of the birth of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, law, civilization, strength war, crafts and skill.
Figures of three goddesses from the east pediment of the Parthenon, -438/-432, From the collection of: British Museum
The East Pediment depicts just that. The sculpture has figures that are mostly relaxed while the drapery and clothes have dramatic and deep relief giving a contrast between light and dark.
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