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Roman Art and Architecture

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Roman art and architecture

The Etruscan culture is one of the least understood of all ancient cultures because of its mysterious aspects. Overshadowed by the successful Romans and Greeks, the Etruscans are just a small base upon which these remarkable cultures built. The portrait of Aule Metele portrays a magistrate raising his arm to address the assembly, giving it the current nickname, Orator. The statue of the Orator carried on the prosperity and expertise of Etruscan artists in bronze in spite of the transformation to Roman. However, the portrait of Aule Metele is impossible to differentiate from contemporary Roman portraits. It does seem to fall under a specific time or culture slot. This makes it an appealing for observation of the transition and transfer of power from the Etruscans the Romans, their conquerors (Moretti 2010). The period, name, and where the sculpture is located are technically of Etruscan origin. However, the human sculpture shows Roman elements of style almost utterly. From the draping robe, to the veristic face, to the gesture that suggests a public speaker, the figure embodies classical Roman Republican features designed to emphasize the steady wisdom and civic virtue of the individual in question. This contrasts with the Etruscan culture which was full of audacious people, as described by their neighboring nations. Etruscan art greatly influenced subsequent Roman art styles thus it was extensively absorbed by the Romans.

The necropolises of Tarquinia and Cerveteri represent the only urban civilization in pre-Roman Italy that makes up a distinctive and exceptional testimony of the ancient Etruscan civilization. The Etruscan people lived in west-central Italy beginning from the 9th century BC. Their culture flourished during the 6th century BC as shown by the necropolises which provide the only existing evidence of Etruscan residential architecture. These cemeteries depict different Etruscan burial practices during their time and confirm the achievements of their culture. Some of the tombs are constructed like monuments; others are engraved in rock, while others are topped by remarkable burial mounds. Most of the walls of these tombs have carvings which feature wall paintings of exceptional value. The necropolis of Cerveteri, also referred to as Banditaccia, is located in the Province of Rome, Latium, in Italy. It contains many tombs planned like a city, with streets, beautiful gardens and neighborhoods. The necropolis holds tombs designed in various styles. Some of these are cut in rock, others made of mounds and some are also laid in rock. They had various structural details and were shaped like houses and huts. The necropolis of Tarquinia, also known as Monterozzi, is found in the Province of Viterbo, Latium, in Italy. It contains 6,000 graves cut in the rock, with 200 painted tombs, that date from the 7th century BC.

Aerial perspective, also known as atmospheric perspective, refers to the effect of the atmosphere on the appearance of an object as the distance from the viewer increases. This increase in distance between an object and a viewer causes the contrast between the object and its background to decrease and the contrast of any markings or details within the object also decreases. The saturation of colors of the objects in the painting also lessens and moves towards the background color, usually blue. Under some conditions, it may be some other color, such as red, at sunrise or sunset. In art, painting in particular, aerial perspective is used in creating an illusion of depth by portraying distant objects as paler, less comprehensive, and usually bluer than near objects(Fichner 2007). The painting by Frans Koppelaar in 2001, showing the Landscape near Bologna; depicts aerial perspective, whereby far objects appear lighter, with lesser contrast colors, and bluer than closer objects. The incorporation of the atmospheric perspective concept in paintings helps in giving them a realistic look. In addition, the drawings made with the employment of aerial perspective are much more beautiful than those made without consideration of aerial perspective. In most cases, the haze or misty appearance is usually depicted by the blue color. However, other scenes such as sunrise and sunset should have a reddish-golden tinge instead of blue.

Pax Romana was the long era of relative serenity during the first and second centuries AD in the Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean world. Because it was established by Caesar Augustus, it is sometimes referred to as Pax Augusta. The Pax Romana did not come by right away because despite the end of the civil wars, fighting proceeded in Spain and the Alps. Augustus had a serious challenge of making peace an acceptable way of life for the Romans, who for almost 200 years, had continuously been at war with one power or another. According to Romans, peace was the unusual situation that came by when all opponents had been defeated and could no longer resist, and not just the absence of war. Augustus' test was to convince Romans that the prosperity they could accomplish in the absence of warfare was more beneficial for the Empire than the prospective wealth, and honor gained when fighting a risky war. It was the accomplishment of Rome's mission, the establishment of a universal state that was home to peace, ordered civilization, security, and the rule of law. Roman Empire cities were the centers of Greco-Roman development, which spread to the far ends of the Mediterranean. In 21 A.D., Roman citizenship was slowly granted to virtually all men who were free by an edict (Raaflaub 2007).

The Equestrian Statue, an Ancient Roman Statue of Marcus

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