Substantive Education

May 28, 2009

Roman Art History Part 3

Filed under: Ancient Rome,Art — kbagdanov @ 2:15 am
Tags: ,

Last but not least.  Here is the end of the pieces that will be on the test.  They all should be familiar to you students.

Another famous Arch is the Arch of Constantine.  I’m going to just quote the description of this arch from Art History by Stokstad cause it’s perfect.

Constantine's Arch

Constantine's Arch

“In Rome, next to the Colosseum, the Senate erected a memorial to Constantine’s victory over Maxentius, a huge, triple arch that dwarfs the nearby Arch of Titus.  It’s three barrel-vaulted passageways are flanked by columns on high pedestals and surmounted by a large attic story with elaborate sculptural decorations and a traditional laudatory inscription.  The “triumphal insignia’ were in part looted from earlier monuments made for Constantine’s illustrious predecessors, the Good Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius.  The reused items visually transferred the old Roman virtues of strength, courage and piety associated with these earlier emperors to Constantine.  New reliefs made for the arch recount the story of his victory and symbolize his power and generosity.”

A new style of art was instituted with Constantine. “This style, with its emphasis on authority, ritual and symbolic meaning rather than outward form, was adopted by the emerging Christian church.  Constantinian art thus bridges the art of the Classical world and the art of the Middle ages.”

Constantine also commissioned a colossal, 30 foot statue of himself.  This statue was on a wooden frame.  The sculptor carved thRoman Art 88 head, arms, and legs out of marble and then used bronze for the drapery of the fabric.  All that remains of the statue is the marble pieces.  This statue was supposedly used as a stand-in for the emperor whenever the conduct of business legally required his presence.   The sculpture combines traditional Roman practices of portraying people as they truly looked, with his heavy jaw, hooked nose, and jutting chin….with a rigid symmetrical simplicity that illicits power and imperial dignity.  There is no hint of frailty or imperfection in the sculpture.


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