The Roman art is a broad topic that spans more than 1,000 years. It has its basis in three continents. The continents are Asia, Europe, and Africa. In around 509 B.C.E the first Roman art was invented. The Roman art encompasses a broad range of media which range from the mosaic, marble, painting and bronze works. These are just a few as there are much more. The Greek art had a major implication too on the Roman art. Rome adapted most of Greece cultural heritage. This essay will discuss artistic sculptures giving examples at each level of art. The artistic work advanced through the century with the increase in knowledge among the people.
The Romanesque art was a term developed in the early 19th century by the art historians. The Romanesque art retained many basic features of the Roman architectural style. Some of the notable features included the apses, the barrel vaults and the acanthus leaf decorations. This style was the first artistic style that spread through the whole of Catholic Europe. This art was in a big way influenced by the Byzantine art. The main features of this art were the paintings, architectures and sculptures. During this period, the most decorated manuscripts were the bibles and the psalters.
The colors used and those who were those which could be seen as bright on the stained glasses (Strong, 112). In the Romanesque art, the figures often varied in size. This part will analyze some sculptures present during this period of art. They included the metalwork, the enamels and the ivories. The precious objects had a high status, much higher than the paintings (D’Ambra, 455).
During this period, the metal works which included the different decorations in enamel were very complicated. Some of the architectural figures which were made during this period are still in existence. One of them is the shrine of three kings of Cologne Cathedral, which was done by Nicholas of Verdun. Some of the Mosan enamel works include the Stavelot Triptych. There are a few secular art pieces such as the mirror pieces that have survived until today. Some of these pieces include the Gloucester candlestick.
During the Roman, Empire art flourished. During this period, there were ambitious building programs, civic improvements and lots of sculptural monuments which in a big way transformed the capital city and its dependent territories. The Roman s applied the Greek systems of ideal proportions. The architects used a distinctive use of arch and vaults which allowed them to advance beyond the Greeks post and lintel construction (D’Ambra, 45). There was an extensive use of concrete that made this architectural building legendry. One such architectural building is the Pantheon.
This pantheon is a marvel of engineering. This structure shows a remarkable regularity of geometry. This structure was constructed as a Catholic church that had been dedicated to Saint Mary’s (D’Ambra,245). The collapse of the Roman Empire politically came in AD 476. The physical destruction of the empire began slowly but also proved far more difficult to achieve. The new religious views did more damage. Pope Gregory the Great announced a full destruction of the images of demons which were found inside Rome. All the structures which were used to worship idle were destroyed and the debris used to build the Christian churches who worshiped the true God.
An example of sculpture is Venus De Medici. This was drawn as a replica of the Greek goddess of love. During the reign of Emperor, Augustus started an era of philhellenism in the Roman art. The collapse of the Roman Empire led to the death of the huge curvings in stone and carving data. Some of these sculptures were done in stucco or plaster. The figurative sculptures emerged back during the 11th and the 12th centuries.
These figurative sculptures had two main sources. One of the sources is manuscript lighting and a limited sculpture in ivory and metal too. Most of the remarkable sculptural stuffs are mainly found in South West France and also in Italy. The imageries which were frequently in metalwork were embossed. Amid the numerous sculptures that existed the optimum arts is that of prophet Jeremiah (Schapiro, 199). There are some significant motifs in these sculptures, and one of the most significant Romanesque designs that are evident in the metaphorical statuette is the spiral.
Most of the Romanesque structures are biblical in subject and pictorial in nature. Most of the themes in these architectural drawings include the themes of creation and the fall of man. Some of these sculptural images conveyed a message to the Christian believers. The sculptures explained to the human beings that they should recognize the wrong doings, repent and be redeemed. Most of the sculptures are alarming in form and the subject matter. Some of the significances and meanings of the sculptures have been rejected today by the modern scholars (Schapiro, 159). The sculptures represented seven deadly sins too. During this period many figures and carvings appeared to have oversized genitals, these, for example, represents carnal sins. The many figures that are seen to have protruding tongues can also represent the carnal sins.
After the Roman architecture was the Gothic architecture. T is believed that this Gothic architecture began with a drawing of a choir in Abbey of Saint Dennis. The Gothic sculpture began after the Romanesque period (Abbate, 118). The style based more upon observation and naturalism. The naturalistic form developed rapidly as a result of the growing awareness of the classical remains. However, there are some doorways which have a Romanesque form. They show some similarities with the early Gothic sculptures.
One of the Gothic structures includes the Portico da Gloria. This architectural figure has been well preserved and has retained its architectural color and the architectural decorations too. The sculptures are in three dimensions, but they are slightly flattened. The Gothic art led to the concurrent development of the Gothic architecture. The International Gothic court style was developed in the 14th century. The late Gothic architecture in some parts of the world continued to the early 16th century (Abbate, 78). The Gothic period included the paintings, the sculptures too as in the Romanesque period and also the stained glasses. The shifts in architecture between the two artistic periods can be easily observed.
The monumental sculpture was the earliest Gothic art. The sculpture was stationed at the walls of the cathedral. During this period, there was increased literacy; the increased literacy in the Gothic period increased the usage of the themes in art. Painting is a style which can be associated with the Gothic style, but it did not appear until the late 1200 century (Stewart, 66). The transition from the Romanesque paintings to the Gothic paintings was very imprecise. The paintings in this period were unique and practiced in four-panel media which include the frescos, panel paintings and the manuscript illuminations. A complete record of Gothic painting was the manuscripts. The full manuscripts date back to the mid of the 13th century. The Royal bibles were examples of illuminated manuscripts (Charles, 88). The altarpiece and the panel paintings were also evident during the Gothic period but only came to be well known in the Renaissance art period. The monumental sculpture was also present in the Gothic period.
There is another revival of the classical style that is evident in the International Gothic. The late Gothic sculptures also continued in the north. The Gothic architecture had the second phase (Stewart, 56). The subdivision of style began the second phase of the Gothic period known as the High Gothic. During the epoch of the Rayonnant style, there was a noteworthy change that emerged in the Gothic architecture.
The artistic work developed gradually through the years. The Romanesque period, as discussed, involved different sculptures and architectural works. Some of these artistic works are still evident in the society today. From the Romanesque period came the Gothic period. There are signs of similarity between the two periods. The end of the Gothic period was the onset of the early Renaissance art.
Strong, Donald E, and J M. C. Toynbee. Roman Art. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2006. Print.
D’Ambra, Eve. Roman Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.
Stewart, Peter. Roman Art. Oxford [England: Published for the Classical Association [by] Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.
Abbate, Francesco. Roman Art. London: Octopus Books, 2012. Print.
Charles, Victoria, Klaus H. Carl, and Andrea Hacker. Gothic Art. New York: Parkstone Press international, 2008. Internet resource.
Schapiro, Meyer. Romanesque Art. New York: G. Braziller, 1997. Print.
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