Monday, April 5, 2010

Verism in Roman Art

Most of the Roman art is an influence of Greek, Etruscan, and even Egyptian art. It is mostly compared to the works of art of the Greek for their architecture and sculpture as well. Many sculptures as good copies of Greek sculpture and the whole style is copied from them except for one important thing. The Greek were all about idealizing the human body; with the canon of proportion, musculature body, nudity, and surreal physical characteristics. This was all about looking as a god and looking as perfect as possible. The Romans on the other hand, went a different direction with the portraits of important people in society. First of all, it wasn’t all about the gods anymore. The Roman Empire was a more realistic one and this was portrayed in their sculpture.

The Roman Republic was ruled by mainly older men, and they were portrayed as just that, with wrinkles and all. I think that this was very important for the Romans because it was their reality. The elders held the main power in the Republic and it was respected because older age didn’t just mean wrinkles, it also meant experienced, determined, and serious. All these characteristics were that ones that made a ruler famous during the Roman Republic. These rulers were the ones that made the big Empire possible, so they deserved to be portrayed this way. But I also think that sometimes the features were somewhat exaggerated. Instead of having a perfect body like the Greeks did, verism was the way for propaganda of the Romans. After all their idols needed to be portrayed in a way that was accepted by the people, and verism was the perfect way to do it.

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