Monday, April 5, 2010

Verism: The warts and all.

Verism is a preference of realism in art. Rather than creating legendary or heroic art forms, the artist prefers the everyday subject matter. While the Romans copied the Greeks in many aspects of their culture, the veristic style of Roman art was all their own. Where the Greeks preferred to sculpt nudes to focus on the human body and created idealized and godlike subjects the Romans chose to focus on busts and what the subject truly looked like to give a greater sense of who the person was. Verism is considered to be the “warts and all” perspective of art.

For example, the Romans would create busts of elder men and women. When they would sculpt these people they would focus on every minute detail of their facial features. Romans chose to do this because they felt that the face best projected a person’s age, personality, and wisdom that were achieved through a long, hard life. These qualities were valued most in Roman society and as such they were accentuated in their portraiture. They stayed true to their veristic style as well because they would focus on every detail whether the subject was a market man or a politician.

I believe that verism was important to the Romans because it showed the true nature of their people. Not only that, but it is accurate as far as relaying ideas or impressions to future generations about the past. We look at the Greek art and how ideal it is and it tells us a lot about the people, but it also begs the question of how accurate our assumptions of their culture are. Maybe the Romans wanted to try and be as accurate and honest as possible when portraying their people.

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