The Romans (Part 1) Textbook and Lecture Notes
The Romans (Part 1) Textbook and Lecture Notes AH 1700
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Date Created: 10/06/16
The Romans (Part 1) Textbook Notes -No government, before or after, ever used art more effectively as a political tool -Romans were masters at creating pictorial ﬁctions to glorify their emperors and advance their political agendas REPUBLIC -509 BCE, the Romans overthrew Tarquinius Superbus, the last of Rome’s Etruscan kings Sculpture -patrons did not ask sculptors to make them appear nobler than they were, but instead requested images memorializing their distinctive features, in the tradition of the treasured household imagines -Figure 7-8 Head of an old man, from Osimo, Italy, mid-ﬁrst century BCE. Marble. -veristic portrait — super realistic -extremely detailed POMPEII & THE CITIES OF VESUVIUS -August 24, 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius, a long-dormant volcano, suddenly erupted -One of the best-preserved houses at Pompeii, partially rebuilt by the Italian excavators, is the House of the Vettii, an old second-century BCE house remodeled and repainted after the earthquake of 62 CE. Painting -Roman wall painting were all true frescoes -August Mau, a German art historian, divided the various mural painting schemes into four “Pompeiian Styles” -Figure 7-17 First Style wall painting in the faces of the Samnite House, Herculaneum, Italy, late second century BCE. -decorator’s aim was to imitate costly marble panels using painted stucco relief -use of First Style in Italian houses is yet another example of the Hellenization of Republican architecture -First Style walls are also well documented in Greece from the late fourth century BCE on -Second Style is the antithesis of First Style -some scholars have argues that the Second Style also has precedents in Greece, but most believe it is a Roman invention -wanted to dissolve a room’s conﬁning walls and replace them with the illusion of an imaginary 3D world -Figure 7-18 Dionysian mystery frieze, Second Style wall paintings in room 5 of the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 60-50 BCE. Fresco, frieze. -room was used to celebrate, in private, the rites of the Greek god Dionysos (Roman Bacchus) -Dionysos was the focus of an unofﬁcial mystery religion popular among women in Italy at this time -depicts mortals (all female, save for one boy) interacting with mythological ﬁgures -in these rites, young women, emulating Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, united in marriage with Dionysos -backdrop for ﬁgures is a series of painted panels imitating marble revetment (just as in the First Style but without the modeling in relief) -in front of this painted marble wall, the artist created the illusion of a shallow ledge on which the human and divine actors move around the room -Figure 7-19 Second Style wall painting, from cubiculum M of the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor, Boscoreale, Italy, ca. 50-40 BCE. Fresco. -3D setting -Italian towns, marble temples, and colonnaded courtyards depicted on walls -painted doors and gates invite the viewer to walk through the wall -demonstrated familiarity with single-point linear perspective -Ancient writers state that Greek painters of 5th century BCE ﬁrst used linear perspective for the design of the Athenian stage sets (hence its Greek name, skenographia, “scene painting”) -Boscoreale painter successfully employed skenographia in the far corners -Linear perspective was a favored tool of Second style painters seeking to transform the usually windowless walls of Roman houses into “picture-window” vistas that expanded the apparent space of the rooms -Figure 7-20 Gardencape, Second Style wall paintings, from the Villa of Livia, Primaporta, Italy, ca. 30-20 BCE. Fresco. -ultimate example of a Second Style picture-window mural -only architectural element is the ﬂimsy fence of the garden itself -to suggest recession, the painter employed atmospheric perspective -similar to Spring Fresco from Akrotiri -Figure 7-21 Detail of a Third Style wall painting, from cubiculum 15 of the Villa of Agrippa Postumus, Boscotrecase, Italy, ca. 10 BCE. Fresco. -no use of illusionistic painting -colonnettes support feather weight canopies in place of stately columns -tiny ﬂoating landscape painted in center -Figure 7-22 Fourth Style wall paintings in the Ixion Room (triclinium P) of the House of the Vettii, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 70-79 CE. -not to be confused with Second Style which also uses architectural vistas seen through the painted walls; the Fourth Style shows views of irrational fantasies -crowded and complex multicolor composition -lowest zone of mural is successful imitation of costly multicolored imported marbles of First Style -large white panels in corners of the room — 3rd Style -architectural vistas of the central and upper zones — 4th style The Romans (Part 1) Lecture Notes -The Roman Empire -multicultural character -constitutional government — senate, 2 elected consuls -Roman republic art and architecture inﬂuenced by Greek and Etruscan art -Figure 7-2 Model of the city of Rome during the early 4th century BCE -Temple of “Fortuna Virilis” (Temple of Portunus), Rome, Italy, 75 BCE. -Etruscan: stairs, roof (terracotta) -Greek: Ionic columns, frieze -melding of Greek and Etruscan architecture -Temple of Vesta, Italy, early 1st century BCE -tholos (round) temple; Greek -Corinthian columns (“vegetation” on capital) -new material invented/used — CONCRETE -high podium and narrow stairway (Etruscan) -Funerary relief, Italy, 30 BCE -art historians questioned whether this was a realistic representation or an idealized representation; concluded that it was realistic -aristocratic patrons — men from old & distinguished families -ﬁercely proud of their lineage -ancestral portraits very popular -slaves & former slaves — not allowed to possess any family portraits -freed slaves ordered portrait reliefs for their tombs -Figure 7-7 Man with portrait busts of his ancestors, from Rome, Italy, late ﬁrst century BCE. Marble. -Head of an old man, from Osimo, mid-ﬁrst century BCE. Marble. -wringly, aged, ﬂawed (not idealized), stern -republican portraits — one way that patrician class -celebrated its elevated position in society -subjects almost exclusively old men -superrealistic (veristic) portraits -Romans believed the head alone was enough to constitute as a portrait (Greeks believed head and body inseparable) -Portrait of a Roman General, from the Sanctuary of Herculus, Italy, 75-50 BCE. -recalling idea of hero (nudity) -veristic face -face looks old, body looks young -Denarius with portrait of Julius Caesar, 44 BCE. -1 coin = 10 donkeys -Roman coin -usually had pictures of divine; portraits of illustrious forbearers -used to mold public opinion -Art for Former Slaves -freed slaves aspired to assimilate to Roman society -Figure 7-11 Funerary relief with portraits of the Gessii, Itlay, ca. 30 BCE. Marble. -slave owner in middle -woman slave on left, man slave on right -commissioned by the freed woman slave The Early Empire (27 BCE-98 AD) -Aerial view of the center of Pompeii, Italy, 2nd century BCE. -“living city of the dead” -buried in a single day -ﬁrst explored in 18th century -forum — public square, center of town, used for festivities/events -Amphitheater, Pompeii, Italy, 70 BCE. -amphitheater — double theater -could seat 20,000 people, seats assigned by ranks (social hierarchy) -bloody gladiatorial combats and wild animal hunts -arena — latin for sand (to absorb blood quickly) -elliptical cavea (seating area) — had to build artiﬁcial mound -Brawl in the Pompeii amphitheater, wall painting from house in Pompeii, Italy, 60-79 CE. -records brawl between Pompeiians and their neighbors the Nucerians during a gladiatorial contest in 59 CE -closed for 10 years after the contest -composition shows the exterior and interior of the amphitheater -Figure 7-15 Restored view and plan of a typical Roman house -impluvium —basin in ﬂoor to collect rainwater Roman Wall Painting -First Style wall painting in the faces of the Samnite House, Italy, late 2nd century BCE. -true fresco -aim to imitate costly marble panels -Second Style wall paintings, Italy, 50-40 BCE -3D setting extends beyond the wall -knowledge of linear perspective and atmospheric -vistas of Italian towns, marble temples, colonnaded courtyards -painted doors and gates invite the viewer “in” -Dionysiac mystery frieze, Second Style wall paintings, Pompeii, Italy, 60-50 BCE. -Second style — illusion of 3D world -Roman design -chmaber believed to celebrate rituals -Gardenscape, Second Style wall painting, Italy, 30-20 BCE. -from the villa of the wife of the emperor Augustus -use of atmospheric perspective -Detail of a Third Style wall painting, Italy, 10 BCE. -third style — walls decorated with delicate linear fantasies sketched on monochromatic backgrounds -delicate and elegant colonnettes supporting featherweight canopies -tiny ﬂoating landscape -3rd style — landscape and mythological scenes appear inside of “frames” -Fourth Style wall painting, Golden House, ROMe, Italy, 64-68 BCE. -4th style — illusionism -crowded and confused -eclectic mix of the previous 3 Pompeii mural styles -The Old Farmer of Corycus, folio from the Vatican Vergil, 400-420 CE. -oldest, preserved manuscript — Vatican Vergil -folio — illustrated page -Neptune and Amphitrite, wall mosaic, Italy, 62-79 CE. -Roman mosaics — decorated the ﬂoors and walls and ceilings -depicts sea god and his wife -Portrait of Husband and Wife, wall painting, Pompeii, Italy, 70-79 CE. -wedding mural painting in the couple’s house
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