The roman republic and empire roman vs. Greek values, beliefs


CLASSICAL ART AND ARCHITECTURE



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CLASSICAL ART AND ARCHITECTURE

Men portrayed as nude first, women only later (4th century b.c.). May be due to male figure more revealing of anatomy of muscles, the availability of living models at the Olympics. (Athletes competed in the nude). Greek attitude on nudity: Only barbarian won’t strip! Syrian figures of statues had loincloths, but Greek ones didn’t. Greeks felt a certain natural beauty in the human body as is, didn’t associate nudity with slavery, as did the world for millennia before.


Early classical style: Severe formalism, like Egyptian art of Pharaohs (text, pp. 196, 198, 199, 200). What is the facial expression? (Smile). Originally painted, not bare stone.
Classical: Discus thrower (text, p. 201): Plane view from side, as if on wall. Notice how still like Egyptian art.
Kritos Boy (text, p. 198): Shows movement around spine, subtle shifting of weight, not “stiff,” walking. Compare to text, p. 39, flat-footed.
Text, p. 202: What does this look like (clothes)? Wet drapery affect.
Polykleitos (Spear Bearer), by Polykleitos, text, p. 202. Used mathematical conventions to aim for ideal natural proportions. Personified strong, Doric, masculine physicality. Broad shoulder, thick torso, muscular limbs. Very carefully contrived, devised casual pose, weight shift principle at work, allows him to be portrayed as walking in a natural pose; right arm, left leg relaxed, but left arm tensed (holding spear), as is right leg.
Isocephalic convention: Heads at same level (text, p. 203), balance.
Three types of columns (orders): Doric: “Male”, 7 to 1 column. Ionic: “Female,” 11 to 1 column. Ratio equal to height/foot’s length ratio. Corinthian, most elaborate, decorative, the one the Romans preferred. Put up picture of Colosseum, ask which is which.

The problem of corners: wanted triglyph centered over column, yet had to meet at corners.

Corinthian capital, even more slender and tall relatively than the Ionic, using acanthus leaves, a solution to this problem, can be seen equally well from all sides, while Ionic only to be seen from two sides equally well. (Why different?) A way for the capital to make a transition from a circular shaft to a square corner just above (architrave).
Parthenon, “The Virgin’s building,” (Athena Parthenos”), text, pp. 206-7. On Acropolis in Athens. Very large: 228 feet by 101 feet with 34 foot high columns. What kind of columns does it have? (Doric). Architects: Ictinos and Callicrates.

Not quite square, but gives illusion of it. Columns lean inward by 2 ½ inches, 4 corner ones still more, would meet 1 mile up if extended. Also 24 inches closer to other columns compared to gaps between non-corner columns. Doric architecture, but not quite plumb and square.



Phidias: Idol/statue of Athena inside, 40 feet high, made of ivory and gold.
Plato had trouble philosophically with the optical illusion involved, perfection vs. illusion of perfection. Foundation (stylobate) rises 4 ½ inches on long sides to center, 2 ¾ inches to center of other two. (Text, p. 208).
Caryatids, text, p. 211: Female figures used as columns. Found on the Erechtheion (Air/ek/thee/on), another temple on the Acropolis. What kind of order (capital) on it? (Ionic). One swiped by Lord Elgin in 1806, never returned, Greek govt. still complains, demands return.
Late Classical: Softer sinuous look, Aphrodite of Knidos, (text, p. 215), violates old rectangular spare convention of Egyptian statues. (Ask how different from Mycerinus and his Queen, text, p. 39). Compare also 7.49, text, p. 214, Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, by Praxiteles, with Polykletos’ Spearbearer, p. 202, 7.23. Notice muscles of stomach especially.
Nike of Samothrace, text, p. 218, winged victory. Dramatic piece, as if on prow of ship.
Laocoon and his sons, text, p. 221: Ask class for difference from Delphi Charioteer, p. 199, Kritos boy, p. 198. Notice the emotionalism on their faces, compared to the stolidity of early and high classical art.

Achilles Bandaging Patroclos’ Wound, text, pp. 188, 197. What is the difference between the eyes here as opposed to Egyptian art? (See text, p. 41). Amphora with Achilles and Ajax playing dice, p. 194. Is this like p. 41, Egyptian art, or like p. 188, in how the eyes are portrayed?
Roman Realism: (Use overheads). Ask class to compare Pompey, etc. to p. 214. Romans want exact realism often, warts, wrinkles, and all.
Roman arch, keystone at top, text, p. 288. Pier (wall): Mutually supporting pressures between stones help avoid a collapse, vs. post & lintel system (text, pp. 11, 44).
Colosseum (text, p. 293): 50,000 spectators could sit in it. Built by Jewish prisoners—dedicated in 80 A.D.When dedicated, over 100 days as a holiday, 10,000 gladiators fought, 2,000 of them died as well as 9,000 animals died. Arena is 156 feet by 258 feet. Four levels high. Roman arch with a Greek post & lintel decoration as the frame. Vitruvius, architect, 1st century b.c., had these principles: firmness, commodity, delight, which this building followed. 1. Structurally sound. 2. 80 entrances, comfortable seating, unobstructed sight lines (vs. Tiger stadium!) 3. Aesthetically pleasing.
Triumphal arch (text, p. 294). Propaganda ploy, 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem commemorated. 50 feet high, 110 feet wide. Symbolism: When Samnites won battle, took 40,000 Romans, made them walk under two spears as posts, one horizontal on top. Had to crawl under stripped to one garment. 321 b.c.—symbolic of going under the yoke.
Pantheon (text, p. 296): Space the emphasis, not interrupted by columns blocking one’s view of the other side (unlike Parthenon inside or Luxor temple, text, p. 44). 142 feet high, 142 feet in diamter. Made of concrete (limestone burned, then water, stones added), remarkable, technique forgotten by medieval world. Done without steel, turned into a church. Oculus at top, only light source, 28 feet in diamter. Plumbing (drains) still works. Built under Hadrian (117-138 A.D.)
Trajan’s column (Emperor, 98-117 A.D.), text, p. 294. Pushed empire to maximum size, born in Spain. 150 scenes carved in 658 foot-long freize. 125 feet high. Commorates his battles in Romania, Hungary. Hard to read as go up higher on the column. Not as deeply carved to avoid shadows obscuring it. Enemies respected on it. Battles portrayed as hard fought. (Realism: Not a propaganda piece).

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