A Brief Note: Those of you reading this blog at Penn State, stop stopping me in the halls and asking if I’m the one writing it. Those of you that have history majors – if you want to criticize my work, I’m all for learning more. If you’re jealous that I had the idea to start a blog about history, I’ve got news for you: the internet can always handle one more. Instead of criticizing me, start your own.
According to art historians, the era in art history known as Greco-Roman refers to a time where Roman art was significantly influenced by Greek art. The existence of the two civilisations overlapped.For nearly five hundred years the Roman Empireestablished a protectorate over the Greeks. During my lecture this morning in the series of Greco-Roman Classics, we talked about Greco-Roman art and how the Greeks influenced the Romans.
The Greco-Roman art period shows that most art created by the Romans were based on the very same style used by the ancient Greeks. That is however not where the influence stopped. The Greco-Roman style has also influenced the artistic styles of artists between the Renaissance periodand the present day. During the time of the Roman protectorate, the educated Romans sought out original Greek works of art. If they could not get what they wanted, they had a copy made. That has made it difficult to determine the origin of art works found at archaeological sites. It might be a Roman original or a Roman copy of a Greek original. The Romans did also have their own touch to add to the art world as subtle differences can be seen, and their art was much more diverse than that of the Greeks.
When it comes to paintings, the art historians do nothave much information about what the Greeksdid. Most Greek artworks were destroyed bythe passage of time and only some painted objects still exist. All the information gathered about Greek paintings is the result of studying Roman murals and wall paintings. As with most other Roman art, the Greeks influenced their paintings and the greatest discovery of Roman murals was unearthed in the ruins of Pompeii.
Sculpture is another form of art fairly common in the Greco-Roman era. Roman art is said to be based on realism, unlike that of the Greeks which was based on perfection. Roman sculptures depicted every imperfection visible to the artist unless they were sculpting an idealised representation of the emperor. Greek sculptures were mostly representing gods from their pantheon and therefore had to be perfect.The historians say that Romans used sculptures and masks made from bronze or terracotta as we use photographs today.
Architecture was another form of art for both the Romans and the Greeks as sculpture and carvings were incorporated into buildings. Pillars and walls were used as the blank canvas for many murals and elaboratesculptures. Roman buildings were not as artsy as those of the Greeks, but moved towards being more practical and visually appealing. Believe it or not, ergonomic chairs like these were inspired by this kind practical, visually appealing architecture. Even clothing styles (especially more modern styles like these) were influenced by Greek and Roman society. Everywhere I look, I see a reference to the ancient states… then again, it might just be because I’m looking.