Roman Architecture and Art Mr. Nikolov
1. Roman Architecture • The Roman architecture is utilitarian, practical, because the Romans are pragmatic in spirit. Most of the Roman buildings are for civil use, not religious. • Romans invented materials and construction techniques that allow them to build multi-storey buildings – concrete, brick and the arch. Ceramic is the most durable material in the world. Indoor plumbing, hypocaust heating. • Roman engineers no longer depend on the landscape, they can alter it to their needs.
A. Roman Utilities • Aqueducts – using arcades to deliver water to cities from mountain sources. • Bridges – permanent crossings of rivers. • Roads – for army use and trade. • Amphitheaters – for mass entertainment, not culture or arts. They have 2 parts – Theatron for spectators and Arena for performance. No religious significance. • Baths – community centers with attached library, gym, swimming pool, spa and conference rooms
B. Political Architecture • The Forum – center of public life and trade. The largest is the Forum of Trajan. Rectangular shaped with public buildings around it. Second forum build by Constantine I in Constantinople. • The Triumphal Arch – built by Emperors as a symbol of Victory in war. Oldest is the Arch if Titus. Last is the Arch of Constantine the Great. They have inscription about the event – primary source. Usually built near the Forum. • The obelisk – precedes the arch, same meaning
C. Private Architecture • The Roman house – accommodates the extended family. Comfort and durability. • Well decorated – mosaics, wall paintings. • The Roman villa – a cottage in the country or by the sea, eventually some of them developed into country estates.
D. The Roman temples • Roman temples were built close to the forum. Religion was a very public function in Rome. Temples accommodate several gods. Emperor Hadrian built the temple of all gods – Pantheon. Romans often built round temples accessible trough only one door. Some have internal atrium. Greek columns were borrowed, but the orders were mixed; often only decorative. • Christian basilicas were build in the 4th and 5th centuries – have the shape of a cross.
The Roman Art • Same as architecture, art is practical, realistic, used entertainment, not religion. • Etruscan terracotta statues, mostly on sarcophagus – memorial for the deceased. • Republican art – bronze portraits, realistic. Legends – Capitoline She-Wolf, marble and bronze copies of Greek originals (gods and heroes). Simple paintings. • Imperial art – more idealized images, marble portraits of emperors and empresses, historical relief, mosaics, and wall painting (Pompeii). Much more nudity than in Greek art. Scenes from mythology or leisure, not sports. Local influences in the provinces (e.g. Faiyum portraits).