1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Roman Art
ROMAN ART. (1) Introductory: History of Recent Research.—The scientific study of ancient Roman art dates from a comparatively recent period. The great artists of the Renaissance, headed by Raphael and Michelangelo, showed no lack of appreciation for such models as the bas-reliefs of Trajan's Column; and it is sufficient to name Mantegna's “Triumph of Caesar” in order to recall the influence exerted by Roman historical sculpture upon their choice and treatment of monumental subjects; but their eyes were fixed on the Greek ideal, however imperfectly represented by monuments then accessible, and the supremacy of this standard became established beyond challenge. In the 18th century Winckelmann, the founder of the science of classical archaeology, directed the gaze of students and critics towards the glories of classical Greek art, which he divined behind the copies which filled the palaces and museums of modern Rome; and the rediscovery of the extant remains of that art, which began early in the 19th century and still continues, has naturally absorbed the attention of the great majority of classical archaeologists. Nevertheless, towards the close of the 19th century, when the main lines of Greek artistic development had been firmly traced and interest was aroused in its later offshoots, critics were led to examine more closely the products of the Roman period. As early as 1874 Philippi had published a study of Roman triumphal reliefs; but his intention was to show that they were derived from the paintings exhibited on the occasion of a triumph—a theory which can no longer be maintained—and not to determine their place in the history of art. In 1893, however, Alois Riegl published a series of essays on the history of ornament under the title of Stilfragen, in one of which he expressed the opinion that “there was in the antique art of the Roman Empire a development along the ascending line and not merely a decadence, as is universally believed.” This thesis was taken up two years later by Franz Wickhoff in a preface contributed to the reproduction in facsimile of the illustrated MS. of Genesis in the imperial library at Vienna. Wickhoff contended that, whilst the art of the Augustan period was the culmination of that which had flourished under the Hellenistic monarchies, it was succeeded by an outburst of genuinely Roman artistic effort, which reached the height of its achievement in the reliefs and portrait-sculpture of the Flavian period, and gave birth in the 2nd century A.D. to the monuments of the “continuous” style of representation exemplified by the imperial columns. Wickhoff's work has become familiar to English readers through Mrs Strong's excellent translation, with copious illustrations, which appeared in 1900; in the following year Riegl published the first (which, by reason of his untimely death, remains the only) volume of his Late Roman Industrial Art in Austria and Hungary, in the opening chapters of which he endeavours to show that the later transformations of Roman art in the 2nd and succeeding centuries after Christ continue to mark a definite advance. On the other hand, the originality of Roman art under the Empire was called in quesion by Josef Strzygowski, whose first important work on the subject, Orient oder Rom, appeared in 1901. Strzygowski holds that even in the imperial period, Rome was receptive rather than creative; that what is termed “Roman imperial art” is in reality the latest phase of Hellenistic art, whose chief centres are to be sought in Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt; and that this late Hellenistic art was itself gradually transformed by the invading spirit of the East into that Byzantine art which is half Greek and half Oriental, but wholly un-Roman. The problem thus stated will presently be discussed; in the meantime it is to be noted that the principal monuments which fall within our province have been at length rendered accessible to students by a series of adequate reproductions. In sculpture, the reliefs of Trajan's Column have been published by Cichorius, and those of the column of Marcus Aurelius by Petersen and others; in metalwork, the treasure of Bosco Reale has been reproduced in the Monuments Piot, and that of Hildesheim has been published by the authorities of the Berlin Museum; a series of reproductions, including all the important examples of Roman painting, is issued by the firm of Bruckmann under the supervision of Paul Herrmann; and the ancient paintings preserved in the Vatican library, which include some of the most famous examples of the art, were published and described by Dr Nogara in 1907. The discussion of the date to be assigned to the Trophy of Trajan at Adam-Klissi in the Dobruja, initiated by Adolf Furtwängler, has led to a closer study of the remains of Roman provincial art; and the discovery of the foundations of the Ara Pacis Augustae at Rome, together with additional remains of its sculptured decoration, has given an impulse to the study of Roman historical monuments. In this field important contributions to knowledge have been made by members of the British school at Rome, which will be noticed below. Finally, the history of Roman sculpture has for the first time been systematically and comprehensively treated by Mrs Strong in a handbook whose copious and well-chosen illustrations add greatly to its value. Thus the necessary equipment has been furnished for students of the problem presented by Roman art.
(2) National Roman Art; Landmarks of its History.—It is impossible to speak of a specifically Roman national art until we approach the latest period of Republican history. The germs of artistic endowment which existed in the Roman character were not developed until her political institutions were matured and her supremacy in the Mediterranean established. Up to that time such works of art as were produced in, or imported into, Rome were without exception Greek or Etruscan. Both in Etruria and in Latium Greek artists were commissioned to decorate the temples in which wood and terra-cotta took the place of the marble which Greece alone could afford to use. In 496 B.C., according to tradition, two Greek artists, Damophilos and Gorgasos, decorated the temple of Ceres, Liber and Libera with paintings and sculpture; when the temple was restored by Augustus their terra-cotta reliefs were carefully removed and framed. But most of the early sculpture preserved in Rome doubtless belonged to the “Tuscan” school, whose works Pliny quotes as evidence that there was an art of statuary native to Italy. It is true that Etruscan art was dependent for its motives and technique on Greek models; but in its portraiture—notably in the reclining figures which adorn Etruscan sarcophagi—we can trace the uncompromising realism and close attention to detail which are native to Italian soil; the fragments of temple-sculptures which have been preserved are of less value, since, if not the work of Greeks, they are entirely Greek in conception. Roman portraiture undoubtedly continues the Etruscan tradition. It was a common custom in Etruria to decorate the urn containing the ashes of the dead with a lid in the form of the human head (such urns are called canopi), and the same desire to record the features of the departed produced the waxen masks, or imagines, which were preserved in the houses of the Roman aristocracy. In architecture, too, Roman builders learnt much from their Etruscan neighbours, from whom they borrowed the characteristic form of their temples, and perhaps also the prominent use of the arch and vault. But the stream of Etruscan influence was met by a counter-current from the south, where the Greek colonies in Campania provided a natural channel by which Hellenic ideas reached the Latin race; and Roman architects soon abandoned the purely Etruscan type of temple for one which closely followed western Greek models. The conquests of the later Republic, however, brought them into more direct contact with the art of Greece proper. Beginning from 212 B.C., when Marcellus despoiled Syracuse of its principal statues, every victorious general adorned his triumph with masterpieces of Greek art, whether of sculpture or of painting, and, when Philhellenism became the ruling fashion at Rome, wealthy connoisseurs formed private collections drawn from the Greek provinces—Greek craftsmen, moreover, were employed in the decoration of the palaces of the Roman nobles and capitalists, which scarcely differed from those of the great Hellenistic cities. Except in portraiture, there was nothing characteristically Roman in the art which flourished in Rome in the time of Caesar and Cicero. But the remains of an altar, preserved partly at Munich and partly in the Louvre (Plate II. fig. 10), which is believed with good reason to have been set up by Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus shortly before 30 B.C., furnish an early example of the historical, or, to speak more exactly, commemorative art, to whose development the Empire gave so powerful an impulse. On the one face of the altar we find a Greek subject—the marriage of Poseidon and Amphitrite,—on the other a Roman sacrifice, the suovetaurilia, with other scenes from the life of the army. Augustus enlisted art, as he did literature, in the service of the new order. The remarkable technical dexterity which characterizes all forms of art in this period—silver plate and stucco decoration, as well as sculpture in the round or in relief—is purely Greek; but the form is filled with a new content. For Augustus determined to enlist art as well as literature in the service of the new régime, and this purpose was served not only by public monuments, such as the Ara Pacis Augustae (Plate II. figs. 11-15), but by the masterpieces of the silversmith's and gem-engraver's art (Plate VII. figs. 32-37). In the art, as in the literature of the Augustan age, classicism was the dominant note, and the naturalism so congenial to the Italian temperament was repressed, though never extinguished. The result of this was that under the Julio-Claudian dynasty academic tradition filled the place of inspiration, and Roman art failed to discover its vocation. A change came under the Flavian emperors. The painters who decorated with fairy landscapes the walls of Roman palaces, untrammelled by the conventions of official art, introduced into Rome a summary method of working, which has much in common with that of the modern impressionist school; and the sculptors of the Flavian period laid to heart the lesson taught by their successful “illusionism” (to borrow Wickhoff's term). We shall see that this is true of all forms of sculpture—historical sculpture, portraiture and decorative ornament; and we are entitled to rank this Flavian art as the specific creation of imperial Rome, whatever may have been the precise nationality of the individual workers who adorned the new capital of the world. But this phase was of short duration; and the Roman spirit, which in harmony with that of Greece had produced such brilliant results, triumphed under Trajan and found its characteristic expression in the “epic in stone” with which his column is adorned. Wickhoff claims the “continuous” style in which the artist recounts the Dacian campaigns of Trajan as a creation of the Roman genius. We shall see that the term is not altogether a happy one; but there is good reason (as will be shown below) for the belief that the designer of the column, however profoundly influenced in his selection of motives and in his composition of individual scenes by Greek tradition, nevertheless worked out his main principles for himself. The realism of the Roman is shown in the minute rendering of details, which makes the reliefs a priceless source of information as to military antiquities. Historical art achieved no less a triumph in the great frieze from Trajan's Forum (Plate II. fig. 16), and in the panels of the arch at Benevento. Imposing as these works are, they suffer from the defects incidental to an art which endeavours to express too much. Overcharged with detail, and packed with meanings which reveal themselves only to patient study, they lack the spacious and reposeful character of Greek art; while, if we regard only their decorative function, we must admit that the excess of ornamental surface mars the effect of the buildings which they adorn. Along the path thus marked out, Roman art continued to progress; it is true that under the influence of Hadrian there was a brief renaissance of classicism which gave birth to the idealized type of Antinous, and to certain eclectic works which belong to Greek rather than to Roman art; but the historical reliefs which survive from the Antonine period, and more especially the sarcophagi, which reproduce scenes of Greek mythology with a close adherence to the letter but a fresh artistic spirit, show that the new leaven was at work. The main fact underlying the changes of the time was the loss of the true principles of plastic art, which even in Hellenistic times had become obscured by the introduction of pictorial methods into relief-sculpture. Colour, rather than form, now took the highest place in the gamut of artistic values. Painting, indeed, so far as our scanty knowledge goes, was not practised with conspicuous success; but the art of mosaic was carried to an extraordinary degree of technical perfection; and in strictly plastic art the choice of material was often determined by qualities of colour and transparency. For example, porphyry, basalt and alabaster of various hues were used by the sculptor in preference to white marble; and new conventions, such as the plastic rendering of the iris and pupil of the eye, were dictated by the ever-growing need for contrasts of light and shadow. This great revolution in taste has been traced, and doubtless with justice, to the permeation of the Graeco-Roman world of the 2nd century by oriental ideas. The East has always preferred colour to form, and richness of ornament to significance of subject; and in art, as in religion, the West was now content to borrow. Roman official art, however, continued to produce the historical monuments which the achievements of the time demanded; but the principles of figure-composition were less fully grasped. The reliefs of the Aurelian Column form a less intelligible series than those of the Column of Trajan; and the panels of the Arch of Septimius Severus, with their bird's-eye perspective, have not inaptly been compared to Flemish tapestries. The extravagance and pomp of the dynasty founded by Septimius Severus filled Rome with such works as the art of the time could produce; and the busts of Caracalla show that in portraiture Roman craftsmen retained their cunning. Even during the anarchy which followed masterpieces such as the portrait of Philip the Arabian were produced; and during the reign of Gallienus (A.D. 253-268), which saw the dismemberment of the Empire, there was a noteworthy outburst of artistic activity, whose products are seen in the naturalistic portraits of the emperor and the court. But by the close of the 3rd century a further transformation had taken place, which coincided with the political revolution by which the absolute monarchy of Diocletian succeeded to the principate of Augustus. The portraits of Constantine and his house can no longer be termed naturalistic; they are monumental, both in scale and in conception, and, above all, their rigid “frontality” carries us back at a bound to the primitive art of the East. The classical standard set by the Greek genius had ceased to govern art, although the fund of types which Hellenism had created still furnished subjects to the artist, or was made the vehicle by which the new ideas derived from Christianity were expressed. The Roman spirit was still strong enough to maintain that interest in the human form and the representation of dramatic events which was lacking in the Oriental; but in the monuments of the Constantinian period, such as the narrow friezes of the Arch of Constantine, we can see nothing but the work of artists who had lost touch with true plastic principles, in spite of the ingenious arguments adduced by Riegl. If we are to seek for signs of progress, it must be rather in the domain of architecture, which had never ceased to make advances in dealing with the spatial and constructive problems presented by the great building works of the Empire; it was now called upon to face a fresh task in providing Christians with a lit place for public worship. In the solution of this problem the architects of the 4th century showed a wonderful fertility of resource; but to describe their achievements would be to pass the confines of Roman art in the proper sense of the word.
(3) Individual Arts. (a) Architecture.—This branch of the subject may be studied in the article Architecture, and illustrations will be found in other articles (Capital; Column; Order; Triumphal Arch; &c.). Architecture, regarded as a fine art, had been brought by the Greeks to the highest perfection of which it was capable under the limitations which they imposed upon themselves. The Greek temple appeals to the aesthetic sense by the simplicity and harmony of its proportions as well as by the rational correspondence between function and decoration in its several members. On these lines there was no room for progress. It is true that the Etruscans modified the type of the Greek temple and profoundly influenced Roman construction in this respect. The Etruscan temple was not approached on all sides by a low flight of steps, but raised on a high platform (podium) with a staircase in the front; it was broad in proportion to its depth, indeed, in many cases, square; and the temple itself (cella) was faced by a deep portico, which often occupied half the platform. Moreover, as the use of marble for building was unknown in early Italy, wood was employed in construction and terra-cotta in decoration, and this change of material led to a wider spacing of the columns than was possible in Greece. But these alterations in the system of proportions were disadvantageous to aesthetic effect; and the Romans—though they soon ceased (under the influence of the western Greeks) to build temples of purely “Tuscan” type—preserved certain of their features, such as the high platform and deep portico (see Architecture, fig. 26). Nor can we regard as felicitous the design of certain Roman temples, such as that of Concord overlooking the Forum, and the supposed temple of Augustus (see Rome), which have a broad front (approached in the temple of Concord by a central portico) and narrow sides. The great temples of the Empire were (in general) inspired by Greek models, and need not therefore concern us; but we may notice Hadrian's peculiar design for the double temple of Venus and Rome, with twin cellae placed back to back. To the orders (see Order) of Greek architecture the Etruscans added the “Tuscan,” a simplified Doric, of which an early example has been found at Pompeii, enclosed within the wall of the Casa del Fauno. This column, which can scarcely be later than the 6th century B.C., has a smooth shaft with pronounced entasis, a heavy capital with a scotia between abacus and echinus, and a plain circular base. To the Romans we owe the “Composite” order, so called because it contains features distinctive of the Corinthian and Ionic orders (see Order, fig. 14). It is really a variety of the Corinthian, with Ionic volutes inserted in the capital; the earliest known example of its use is seen in the Arch of Titus. The Romans, moreover, made frequent use of the figured capital, which, as the remains of Pompeii show, was an invention of the later Hellenistic age. Reduced copies of statues are found in the decoration of such capitals in the baths of Caracalla; the capitals with Victories and trophies in S. Lorenzo Fuori also belonged to a building of pagan times.
But the specific achievement of the Roman architect was the artistic application of a new set of principles—those which are expressed in the arch, the vault and the dome. The rectilinear buildings of the Greeks, with their direct vertical supports, gave place to vaulted structures in which lateral thrust was called into play. The aesthetic effect of the curves thus brought into prominence was well understood by the Romans; and they were the inventors of the decorative combination of the Greek orders with the arcade. More than this, the erection of vaults and domes of wide span, rendered possible by the use of concrete, gave to the Roman architect the opportunity of dealing artistically with internal spaces. A simple yet grandiose example of this may be found in the Pantheon of Hadrian. Circular buildings were a common feature in Italian architecture; the temple of Vesta, which doubtless represented the primitive hut or dwelling of the king, always had this form, and the theme was repeated with many variations, from the well-known circular temple in the Forum Boarium to the fantastic structure with broken outlines at Baalbek. But in the Pantheon the artist lays stress, not on the exterior, which possesses no special effect, but on the interior, whose proportions are carefully determined and give a most impressive result. The same may be said of the great halls of the Imperial Thermae, and as time went on more elaborate architectural schemes were devised to meet the requirements of the Christian Church.
(b) Sculpture.—It was pointed out above that in the late Republican period specifically Roman art was practically confined to portraiture. Of this we have many fine examples, such as the so-called Domitius Ahenobarbus of the Braccio Nuovo (Plate I. fig. 1); and there is a series of busts which possess a special interest in that some of them have been claimed as portraits of Scipio Africanus. The example in the Museo Capitolino (Plate I. fig. 2), with a modern inscription, though executed in the 2nd century A.D., is clearly copied from a famous Republican original. The baldness of the head has been thought to be derived from the technique of the waxen imagines, in which the hair was painted; the presence of a scar above the temple, which has given rise to various theories, merely betokens the unsparing realism of the Republican artist. In monumental sculpture our earliest datable example is the altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, already referred to (Plate II. fig. 10). The ceremonial scene of the suovetaurilia fills the centre of the composition; to the left we see the dismissal of veterans for whom diplomata are being prepared; to the right the troops on active service, both horse and foot, are represented. The artist was clearly inspired by statuary and other types of earlier date, which are grouped in a somewhat loose composition. Augustan art is adequately represented by the Prima Porta statue of the emperor, discovered in 1863 in the Villa of Livia and now in the Braccio Nuovo (Plate III. fig. 17). The attitude of the figure is that of an imperator addressing his army; but there is a characteristic blending of the real with the ideal, for the emperor is not only bareheaded but barefoot, and beside him is a tiny cupid riding on a dolphin, which indicates the descent of the Julian house from Venus. We note, too, how the Roman artist—or the Greek artist interpreting the wishes of the Roman—is scarcely more concerned for the total effect of his work than for the significant details of the decoration. The chasings of the corselet display, as a central subject, the restoration by the Parthian in 20 B.C. of the standards taken from Crassus at Carrhae (53 B.C.). Not content with this, the artist has added a group of personifications indicating sunrise—Sol, Caelus, Aurora and the goddess of the morning dew—as well as Apollo, Diana, Mars and the earth goddess, and two figures symbolical of the western provinces, Gaul and Spain. It is also to be noted that the statue shows abundant traces of its original polychrome tints—brown, yellow, blue, red and pink. It must have been executed later—probably not much later—than 13 B.C., when Augustus returned from the West, and therefore belongs to the same period as the Ara Pacis Augustae, dedicated January 30, 9 B.C. This altar stood in a walled enclosure with two entrances, measuring 11½ by 10½ metres. The walls, with their plinth, were about 6 metres in height, and were decorated internally with a frieze of garlands and bucrania, and externally with two bands of relief, the lower consisting of conventional scrolls of acanthus varied with other floral motives, and teeming with bird and insect life, the upper showing processions (Plate II. fig. 11) passing from east to west. The most interesting of these is that on the south wall, which included Augustus himself, the flamines and the imperial family. On the western face, towards which the processions are directed, we find a scene of sacrifice, with a landscape background, in which the ideal figures of senate and people appear. To the east front (apparently) belongs the beautiful group of the earth goddess (Tellus) and the spirits of air and water (Plate II. fig. 13). It is impossible to deny the incongruity of this composition with the realistic procession which adjoins it, and we can only suppose that the artist borrowed the group from some Hellenistic precursor and used it in that blend of the real and ideal which, as we saw, was the keynote of the new imperial art.
The lack of public monuments which can be assigned to the Julio-Claudian period is only in part supplied by those of private significance; the most important of these are the sepulchral cippi and other altars, decorated sometimes with figure-subjects, but largely with plant and animal forms rendered with the utmost naturalism. The altar with plane leaves in the Museo delle Terme (fig. 38), though perhaps not later than Augustus, is typical of the spirit in which vegetable forms were treated under the first dynasty. We may take a female portrait discovered in a 1st-century house on the right bank of the Tiber (Plate I. fig. 3) as an example of the portraiture of this period, which shows great technical merit but a touch of conventionality.
The sculpture of the Flavian period finds its best-known example in the reliefs of the Arch of Titus. This has but a single archway; the piers had no sculptured decoration, and the narrow frieze which surmounts the architrave is perfunctorily executed. But the long panels on either side of the passage, which represent the triumph of Titus and the spoils of Jerusalem, have been deemed (by Wickhoff) worthy of a place in the history of art beside the masterpieces of Velazquez—the “Hilanderas” and the “Surrender of Breda”; and though we cannot subscribe to his view that the artist calculated the effect of natural illumination upon the relief, it remains true that they are eminently pictorial compositions in respect of their depth of focus, yet without sacrifice of plastic effect (Plate II. fig. 14). So far as bas-relief is concerned, the problem of representing form in open space is here solved. Equally admirable in technique, though of less historical importance, are the circular medallions (tondi) which now adorn the Arch of Constantine, but originally belonged (as the present writer has shown) to a monument of the Flavian period, perhaps the “temple of the Flavian house” erected by Domitian. The one shown (Plate III. fig. 18) is remarkable in that the head of the emperor has been replaced by a portrait, not of Constantine, but (in all probability) of Claudius Gothicus (A.D. 268-70), who was the first to divert these sculptures from their original destination.
Flavian portraits, of which two are here figured,—a bust of Vespasian in the Museo delle Terme (Plate I. fig. 4) and a bust, now in the Lateran, found in the tomb of the Haterii, which, as is shown by the snake, represents a physician (Plate I. fig. 5),—must rank as the masterpieces of Roman art. Their extraordinarily lifelike character is due to the fact that the artist, without accumulating unnecessary detail, has contrived to catch the characteristic expression of his subject, and to render it with the utmost technical virtuosity. These portraits differ from the works of the Greek masters, who always subordinated the individual to the type, and therefore gave a less complete impression of reality than the Roman artists.
The same tendency has been noted in ornamental work which may be dated to the Flavian period. Wickhoff selected a pilaster from the monument of the Haterii (Plate II. fig. 15) upon which a column entwined with roses is carved. The flowers are not in fact represented with precise fidelity to nature, but the illusion of reality is no less great than in more accurately worked examples.
Roman sculpture soon passed the zenith of its achievement. We are not able to assign any historical monuments to the earlier years of Trajan's reign, but the portraits of the emperor betray a certain hardness of touch which makes them less interesting than those of the Flavian period. To the latter part of the reign belong a number of monuments which represent Trajanic art at its best. First and foremost come the reliefs, colossal in scale, which appear to have decorated the walls of Trajan's Forum. Four slabs were removed by Constantine's order and used to adorn the central passage and the shorter sides of the attic of his arch. The first of these (Plate II. fig. 16) shows the victorious charge of the Roman cavalry, with the emperor at its head, against their Dacian enemies. Other fragments of this frieze are extant in the Louvre, and a much-restored relief, walled up in the garden of the Villa Medici, shows a Dacian on horseback swimming the Danube with Trajan's Bridge in the background. The composition of the battle-scene is very fine, and the heads of the Dacians are full of character; but, although details of armour, &c., are carefully and accurately reproduced, we see clear signs of technical decadence, both in the fact that the human eye is in many cases represented as though in full face on heads which are shown in profile, and also in the naïve attempt to render several files of troops in perspective by means of superposed rows of heads. The reliefs of the spiral column in the Basilica Ulpia tell the same tale. The designer borrowed certain motives from Hellenistic art; e.g. we find the suicide of the Dacian king Decebalus represented in precisely the same way as that of a Gallic chief on the well known sarcophagus in the Capitoline Museum representing a battle between Greeks and Gauls; again, the symmetry of the scene in which the fall of Sarmizegetusa (the Dacian capital) is depicted recalls that of Greek monuments—particularly the painting of the fall of Troy by Polygnotus, described by Pausanias at Delphi. But the loving care with which the arms and accoutrements of the Roman troops—both regular and irregular—are rendered betrays the nationality of the artist; and his technical deficiencies, especially in the matter of perspective, point in the same direction. It seems probable, moreover, that the artistic conception of a column ornamented with a band of relief was new, and that the designer had to find his own solution for the problem. We find, in fact, that he tells his story in more than one way: (a) Considerable portions of the narrative, e.g. Trajan's march in the opening campaign, consist in a series of isolated and successive scenes; the divisions are usually marked by some conventional means, such as the insertion of a tree, or a change of direction in the action. (b) At other times the scenes unfold themselves against a continuous background, and merge almost insensibly into those which succeed them; to this form of narrative the term “continuous style,” brought into use by Wickhoff, more properly applies. (c) The direct progress of the narrative is sometimes broken by passages which can only be called “panoramic”; the great composition showing the siege and fall of Sarmizegetusa falls under this head, and the “continuous” narration of Trajan's journey at the outset of the second war is followed by an extensive panorama illustrating the operations in Moesia in A.D. 105.
The reliefs (as already indicated) tell the story of both of Trajan's wars with the Dacians, a formal division between the two narratives being made by a figure of Victory setting up a trophy; and the design of the second series shows a decided advance in artistic and dramatic effect on that of the first. Clearly the artist learnt the laws of composition applicable to his problem in the course of his work.
Before leaving the Trajanic period a word must be said as to the arch erected at Benevento (see Triumphal Arch, fig. 2), from which point a new road—the Via Trajana—ran to Brundisium. The inscription on this arch bears the date A.D. 114, but the prominence given to Hadrian has led to the supposition that the reliefs were executed after his accession. We have already noted that the use of relief as ornament is here carried to excess in the artist's desire to present a summary of Trajan's achievements at home and abroad. The arrangement of the panels is calculated and significant. On the side which faces the town of Benevento the subjects have reference to Trajan's work in Rome. On the attic we see, to the left, a group of gods with the Capitoline triad—Jupiter, Juno and Minerva—in the foreground; to the right, Trajan welcomed at the entrance to the Capitol by the goddess Roma, the penates and the consuls. He is accompanied by Hadrian, who is designated by the gesture of Roma as the emperor's successor. The two lowest panels likewise form a single picture. To the right Trajan appears at the entrance of the Forum, where he is welcomed by the praefectus urbi; to the left, with the Curia as background, we see the representatives of senate, knights and people. The central panels symbolize the military and civil aspects of Trajan's government—veterans to left, merchants to right, are the recipients of imperial favour. On the other face of the arch we have a series of panels relating to Trajan's work in the provinces. On the attic the gods of the Danube provinces appear to the left, the submission of Mesopotamia on the right; the lowest panels represent negotiations with Germans (left) and Parthians (right), in the centre (as on the other face) we have a military scene (recruiting in the provinces) to left, balancing the foundation of colonies and growth of the proles Romana on the right. As the above description will show, this arch is, in respect of its significance, the most important monument of Roman historical art. Technically, the reliefs fall somewhat short of the best work of the Flavian period—the long panels of the archway, which represent a sacrifice offered by Trajan and his benefactions to the municipia of Italy, have not the verve of those from the Arch of Titus, but are at least as fine as the works executed for Trajan's Forum.
With the accession of Hadrian—the “Greekling,” as he was called by his contemporaries—a short-lived renaissance of classicism set in. The eclectic modifications of Greek statuary types which it called forth do not fall within our province; but it should be noticed that in portraiture the most important work of this period was the idealized type of Antinous, here represented by a famous example (Plate I. fig. 6) in the Louvre, which invests the favourite of Hadrian with a divinity expressed in the terms of Hellenic art as well as a pathos which belongs to his own time. The historical monuments of this and the following reign are few in number, and lack the pregnancy of meaning and vigour of execution which distinguish those of the Trajanic period; mention may be made of three reliefs in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of which represents the apotheosis of an empress, and of the panels in the Palazzo Rondinini shown by the analogy of a medallion of Antoninus Pius to belong to his time. This is also the place to take note of the ideal figures symbolical of the subject peoples of the Empire. Under Trajan Roman sculptors had produced the fine statues of Dacian captives which now adorn the Arch of Constantine; to the Hadrianic period belong the idealized figures of provinces, classical in pose and motive, several of which are in the Palazzo de Conservatori.
We pass on to the period of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, in which Roman art underwent a further transformation. The earliest monument of the time which calls for our attention is the base of the column (now destroyed) erected in honour of Antoninus Pius. Two of its faces are here shown (Plate IV. figs. 21 and 22), and the contrast is remarkable between the classicistic representation of the apotheosis of Antoninus and Faustina, witnessed by the ideal figures of Rome and the Campus Martius (holding an obelisk), and the realistic treatment of the decursio, a ceremony performed by detachments of the praetorian guard on horse and foot. We note the endeavour of the Roman sculptor to express more than his medium will allow, and his inadequate grasp of the laws of proportion and perspective. Discarding the classical standard and its conventions, the artist disposes his figures like a child's toys, and, when confronted with the problem of the background, waves it aside and reduces the indication of the place of action to a few projecting ledges on which his puppets are supported. The reliefs of the Column of Marcus Aurelius suffer by comparison with those of Trajan's Column. The story which the designer had to tell was doubtless less definite in outline; we cannot trace, as in the former instance, the march of events towards a dramatic climax, and there is some reason to think that, although the two bands of relief, separated (as on Trajan's Column) by a figure of Victory, correspond generally with the “Germanic” and “Sarmatic” wars of Marcus down to A.D. 175, the narrative is not strictly chronological; thus the fall of rain ascribed by Christian tradition to the prayers of the “Thundering” Legion (Plate IV. fig. 24) is represented at a very early stage, whereas our historians place it towards the close of the war. The figures are smaller and at the same time more crowded than those upon Trajan's Column, and the landscape is less intelligently rendered. The type of the rain-god, which is without doubt the creation of the Roman sculptor, is boldly conceived but scarcely artistic. Still the reliefs show that the designers of the time were making vigorous efforts to think for themselves, and for this reason possess a higher value than the more conventional panels now distributed between the attic of the Arch of Constantine and the Palazzo dei Conservatori, which seem to have decorated a triumphal arch set up in or after A.D. 176. The portraiture of the time also shows the invasion of new principles. Even before the reign of Marcus we find a tendency to emphasize the contrast between hair and flesh, the face often showing signs of high polish. In the latter half of the 2nd century the contrast is heightened by a new method of treating the hair, which is rendered as a mass of curls deeply undercut and honeycombed with drill-holes; a fine example is the Commodus of the Palazzo dei Conservatori. The aim of the sculptor is to obtain an ornamental effect by the violent contrast of light and dark—an adaptation for the purposes of plastic art of the chiaroscuro which more properly belongs to painting. This tendency may be seen at work in all branches of sculpture. The sarcophagi of the Antonine and later periods, with their crowded compositions and deep shadows, have the same pictorial effect; and in pure ornament the vivid illusionism of Flavian art disappears, and, though plant-forms are lavishly used—from the time of Trajan onwards we note a growing distaste for pure outlines, which are hidden beneath all-pervading acanthus foliage—the interest of the sculptor comes to lie more and more in intricacy of pattern, produced by the complementary effect of lights and shadows. An instance of this may be found in a pilaster now in the Lateran Museum (fig. 39), which Wickhoff justly contrasts with the rose-pillar from the monument of the Haterii. It is all-important to remember that (as Strzygowski has pointed out) it is not true shadow which is contrasted with the high lights in later Roman ornament; if so, the plastic effect of the free members would be heightened, whereas the reverse is actually the case, for even the figures on sarcophagi, worked in the round though they be, do not stand out from the background—which indeed is practically abolished—but seem rather to form elements in a pattern. The reason is that pure darkness is set off against the high lights, and the whole surface being thus broken up, there remains no impression of depth.
Under Septimius Severus and his successors, Roman, art drifts steadily in its new direction. The reliefs of his arch at the entrance to the Forum represent the emperor's campaigns in the East in a compromise between bird's-eye perspective and the “continuous” style which cannot be called successful; a better example of the art of this period is to be seen in the relief (Plate IV. fig. 20) now in the Palazzo Sacchetti, recently published by Mr A. J. B. Wace, which probably represents the presentation of Caracalla to the senate as the destined successor of his father. The squat figures of the senators, their grouping, which, though not lacking in naturalism and a certain effectiveness, is not in its main lines aesthetic, and the lavish use of deeply drilled ornament, are features which leave no doubt as to the period to which this work should be assigned. Rome, however, could still boast a school of portrait-sculptors, whose work was of no ordinary merit. The bronze statue of Septimius Severus, which passed into the Somzée collection, has been pronounced by Furtwängler to be of much earlier date, except for the head of the emperor, and we cannot therefore feel confidence in using it as a measure of the artistic achievements of Severus's reign; but the busts of Caracalla, which represent the tyrant in his later years, are masterly both in conception and in execution.
In the second quarter of the 3rd century A.D., when the Empire was torn by internal strife, threatened in its very existence by the inroads of barbarism, and hastening towards economic ruin, art could no longer flourish, and monuments of sculpture become scarce, if we except portraits and sarcophagi. The busts of this period are easily distinguished by the treatment of the hair and beard, which seem to have been closely clipped, and are indicated by a multitude of fine chisel strokes on a roughened surface. But, rough as these technical methods may seem, the artists of the time used them with wonderful effect, and the portraits of the emperor Philip (A.D. 244-49) in the Braccio Nuovo, and an unknown Roman in the Capitoline Museum (Plate I. fig. 7), are hardly to be surpassed in their delineation of craft and cruelty. Amongst the sarcophagi of the 3rd century we select, in preference to those adorned with scenes of Greek mythology, the fine example in the Museo delle Terme (formerly in the Ludovisi collection) decorated with a mêlée of Romans and Orientals (Plate IV. fig. 23), the principal figure—whose portrait is also to be seen in the Capitoline Museum—has been identified by Mr A. H. S. Yeames as C. Furius Sabinius Aquila Timesitheus, the minister and father-in-law of Gordian III. (d. A.D. 244). Even after the middle of the century, when the Empire was for a time dismembered, portrait-sculpture put forth fresh evidences of life and vigour. Gallienus, who was himself a dilettante and doubtless largely endowed with personal vanity, seems to have called into being a naturalistic school of sculptors, who harked back to the models of the later Antonine period, so that it is not always easy to distinguish the busts of his time from those of a much earlier date. The Louvre bust of the emperor (Plate I. fig. 8) will serve as a type of these works. But this singular renaissance was as short-lived as the eclectic revival of classicism under Hadrian. It is remarkable that the portrait of Gallienus is the last which can be identified by truly individual traits. The period of storm and stress which followed his death has left little or no monumental material for the historian of sculpture; and when the curtain again rises on the art of the new monarchy founded by Diocletian and perfected by Constantine, we seem to move in a new world. The East has triumphed over the West. Just as in Egyptian and, speaking generally, in all oriental art, before the revelation of true plastic principles, which we owe to the Greek genius, the law of “frontality” was universally operative, i.e. the pose of sculptured figures was rigidly symmetrical and without lateral curvature, so the portraits of Constantine and his successors are discerned at a glance by their stiff pose and fixed and stony stare. The fact is that the secret of organic structure has been lost; the bust (or statue) is no longer a true portrait, a block of marble made to pulsate with the life of the subject represented, but a monument. It was thus that the absolute monarchs of the Empire, before whom their subjects prostrated themselves in mute adoration, preferred to be portrayed; and we cannot help recalling Ammianus's description of the entry of Constantius II. into Rome (A.D. 356). The emperor rode in a golden chariot, turning his head neither to the right nor to the left, but gazing impassively before him “tanquam figmentum hominis.” The description fits such a portrait as that of an unknown personage of the 4th century in the Capitoline Museum (Plate I. fig. 9), which has found a panegyrist in Riegl. It remains to note that the narrow bands of relief on the Arch of Constantine, some of which probably date from the reign of Diocletian, partake of the same monumental character as the single statues of the time. Where the nature of the subject permits, as in the case of the reliefs here represented (Plate III. fig. 19), the frontality of the central figure, and the strict symmetry of the grouping, Which imparts an almost geometrical regularity to the main lines of the composition, are calculated for architectonic rather than for plastic effect. The breath of organic life has ceased to inspire the marble.
We have confined ourselves in the above section to tracing the course of development in what we may call official Roman sculpture, represented in the main, as is natural, by the monuments of the capital. The products of local schools cannot here be treated in detail. The difficult problems which they raise are best illustrated by the case of “Trajan's trophy” at Adam-Klissi in the Dobruja. Although the very name of the monument might seem to furnish sufficient evidence of its date, the late Professor Furtwängler stoutly maintained that Trajan did but restore a monument dating from 29 B.C. He called attention to the uniformity in style of the grave-monuments of soldiers from north Italy, serving in the legions of the Rhine and Danube; these date from the early imperial period, and represent (according to Furtwängler) a traditional “legionary style.” It may be admitted that they are eminently Italian in their hard realistic character; but the tradition was not extinct in the Trajanic period, so that the analogy between these monuments and its rudely carved figures is inconclusive, and the ornament of the trophy, which is far from being homogeneous, contains, as Studniczka has observed, oriental elements which could not possibly be found in sculpture of the 1st century B.C. Local tradition may also be traced, e.g. in southern France, where the Hellenic influence which penetrated by way of Massilia was still strongly felt under the Julio-Claudian dynasty, as the sculptures of the tomb of the Julii at St Rémy and the triumphal arches of Orange and Carpentras suffice to prove. Gallo-Roman art, on the other hand, has a physiognomy of its own, whose outlines have been traced by M. Salomon Reinach (Antiquités nationales; bronzes figurés de la Gaule romaine, Introduction). In the Rhineland we find, at a later period, a singular school of realistic sculptors at work; the museum at Trier contains a number of their grave-monuments decorated with scenes of daily life. Nor must we omit to mention the Palmyrene sculptors of the 3rd century A.D., whose portrait-statues give us the clue to the origin of the “frontal” style of the Constantinian period.
(c) Painting and Mosaic.—The arts whose proper medium is colour enjoyed a popularity with the ancients and with the Romans, no less than with the Greeks, at least as great as that of sculpture; we need go no further for evidence of this than the statement of Pliny that Julius Caesar paid eighty talents (£20,000) for the “Ajax and Medea” of Timomachus of Byzantium, which he placed in his newly built forum. But we are in a difficult position when we try to estimate the artistic value of the masterpieces of ancient painting, since time has destroyed the originals, and it is but rarely that we can even recover the outlines of a famous composition from decorative reproductions. For the history of Greek painting we have in Pliny's Natural History a fairly full literary record; but this fails us when we come to Roman times, nor do original works, worthy to be ranked with the monuments of Roman historical sculpture, supply the want. Painting in Italy was throughout its early history dependent on Greek models, and reflected the phases through which the art passed in Greece. Thus the frescoes which adorn the walls of Etruscan chamber-tombs show an unmistakable analogy with Attic vase-paintings. The neutral background, the use of conventional flesh-tones, and the predominant interest shown by the artists in line as opposed to colour, clearly point to the source of their inspiration; and the fine sarcophagus at Florence depicting a combat between Greeks and Amazons, in which we first trace the use of naturalistic flesh-tints, though it bears an Etruscan inscription, can hardly have been the handiwork of native artists.
Roman tradition tells of early wall-paintings at Ardea and Lanuvium, which existed “before the foundation of Rome”; of these the Etruscan frescoes mentioned above may serve to give some impression. We also hear of Fabius Pictor, who earned his cognomen by decorating the temple of Salus on the Quirinal (302 B.C.); and a few more names are preserved by Pliny on account of the trivial anecdotes which attached to them. The chief works of specifically Roman painting in Republican times (other than the frescoes which adorned the walls of temples) were those exhibited by successful generals on the occasion of a triumph; thus we hear that in 263 B.C. M. Valerius Messalla was the first to display in the Curia Hostilia such a battle-piece, representing his victory over Hiero II. of Syracuse and the Carthaginians. We may perhaps form some idea of these paintings from the fragment of a fresco discovered in a sepulchral vault on the Esquiline in 1889, which appears to date from the 3rd century B.C. This painting represents scenes from a war between the Romans and an enemy who may almost certainly (from their equipment) be identified as Samnites; the names of the commanders are indicated, and amongst them is a Q. Fabius, probably Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus, who played a part in the third Samnite War. The scenes are superposed in tiers; the background is neutral, the colour-scale simple, and there is but little attempt at perspective; but we note the files of superposed heads in the representation of an army, which are found at a later date in Trajanic sculpture.
We pass from this isolated example of early Roman painting to the decorative frescoes of Rome, Herculaneum and Pompeii, which introduce us to the new world conquered by Hellenistic artists. The scheme of colour is no longer conventional, but natural flesh-tints and local colour are employed; the “artist understands,” as Wickhoff puts it, how to “concentrate the picture in space” instead of isolating the figures on a neutral background; he struggles (not always successfully) with the difficult problems of linear and aerial perspective, and contrives in many instances to give “atmosphere” to his scene; the modelling of his figures is often excellent; finally, he can, when need requires, produce an effective sketch by compendious methods. It must be premised that this style of wall-decoration was a new thing in the Augustan period. In the Hellenistic age the walls of palaces were veneered with slabs of many coloured marble (crustae); and in humbler dwellings these were imitated in fresco. This “incrustation” style is found in a few houses at Pompeii, such as the Casa di Sallustio, built in the 2nd century B.C.; but before the fall of the Republic it had given place to what is known as the “architectural” style. In this the painter is no longer content to reproduce in stucco the marble decoration of more sumptuous rooms; by introducing columns and other architectural elements he endeavours to give the illusion of outer space, and this is heightened by the landscapes, peopled, it may be, with figures, which form the background. We shall take as an example of such decoration one of the “Odyssey landscapes” discovered on the Esquiline in 1849; these may be amongst the more recent works of this school, but can scarcely, from the character of their surroundings, be later than the reign of Claudius. Amongst the remains of a large private house was a room whose walls were decorated in their upper portion with painted pilasters treated in perspective, through which the spectator appears to look out on a continuous background of land and sea, which is diversified by scenes from the voyage of Odysseus. It is clearly to such works as these that Vitruvius refers in a well-known passage (vii. 5) Where, in describing the wall-paintings of his time, he speaks of a class of “paintings on a large scale which represent images of the gods or unfold mythical tales in due order, as well as the battles of Troy or the wanderiugs of Odysseus through landscapes (topia).” And it is worthy of note that in a chamber discovered in the 18th century below the Flavian state-rooms on the Palatine (see Rome) the tale of Troy seems to have been represented in a very similar manner; drawings of the panel on which the landing of Helen is depicted have been preserved. Of the eight scenes from the Odyssey found on the Esquiline three represent the adventure in the country of the Laestrygones; the third forms a transition from this subject to the visit of Odysseus to Circe, which occupies the fourth and fifth panels; the two last depict Odysseus among the shades. The second of these, which is here reproduced (Plate V. fig. 26), is only half as wide as the others, and was probably next to a door or window. It is, however, typical in style and treatment. The artist is mainly interested in the landscape, which is sketched with great freedom and breadth of treatment. He has clearly no scientific knowledge of perspective, and commits the natural error of placing the horizon too high. His figures are identified by Greek inscriptions, and we see that artistic considerations weigh more highly with him than close adherence to his poetical text; for the group of the Danaids in the foreground has no counterpart in the Homeric description. The conventional distinction of flesh-tints between the sexes is to be observed.
The use of landscape in decoration is expressly stated by Pliny (H.N. xxxv. 116) to have become fashionable in Rome in the time of Augustus. He attributes this to a painter named Studius, who decorated walls with “villas, harbours, landscape gardens, groves, woods, hills, fish-ponds, canals, rivers, shores,” and so forth, diversified with figures of “persons on foot or in boats, approaching the villas by land on donkeys or in carriages, as well as fishers and fowlers, hunters and even vintagers.” Vitruvius, too, in the passage above quoted, speaks of “harbours, capes, shores, springs, straits, temples, groves, mountains, cattle and herdsmen”; and existing paintings fully confirm the statements of ancient writers. In the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta the walls of a room are painted in imitation of a park; from the Villa of Fannius Synistor at Bosco Reale we have a variety of landscapes and perspectives; and in the house discovered in the grounds of the Villa Farnesina by the Tiber we find a room decorated with black panels, upon which landscapes exactly conforming to Pliny's description are sketched in with brush-strokes of white. While we have no reason to dispute the accuracy of Pliny's statement, or to refuse credit to the Roman artist for the development of landscape decoration, it is to be noted that the summary methods of impressionist technique which are here employed are probably traceable to Alexandrian influence. Petronius, who puts into the mouth of one of his characters a lament over the decline of art, attributes the decadence of painting to the “audacity of the Egyptians” and their discovery of “a short cut to high art” (tam magnae artis compendiaria). This has been thought to mean no more than the process of fresco-painting, which led to the substitution of mere wall-decoration for elaborate easel-paintings; but this was no new invention. It has been pointed out by Mrs Strong that amongst the wall-paintings of Pompeii we can distinguish a group executed in bold dashes of colour—especially white—according to the principles of modern impressionism. The most striking example of this betrays its source of inspiration by its subject—the ceremony of the evening benediction in front of the temple of Isis (Plate V. fig. 27).
So far the paintings which we have considered can only be regarded as an extremely ingenious and, in the main, tasteful form of wall-decoration; they tell us little of that which we most wish to know—the style and treatment of substantive works of painting. The gap is in some measure filled by the central panels of Pompeian walls, which are usually adorned with subject-paintings, often mythological in subject, clearly marked off from the rest of the wall and intended to take the place of pictures. In the Architectural style these are usually framed in a species of pavilion or aedicula, painted in perspective; but this motive gradually loses its importance. In the Third style (“ornate”) distinguished by Mau the architectural design ceases to be intelligible as the counterfeit of real construction, and becomes a purely conventional scheme of decoration; and in the Fourth or Intricate style, which again reverts to true architectural forms, however fantastic and bewildering in their complexity, the figure-subjects are plainly conceived as pictures and framed with a simple band of colour. The subjects of these frescoes are for the most part taken from Greek mythology, and it has been argued that in the main we have to deal with reproductions of Hellenistic paintings rather than of contemporary works of art. It is not to be denied that the motives of famous compositions of earlier date may have found their way into the repertory of the Pompeian artists; it is not unnatural, for example, to conjecture that the figure of Medea here reproduced (Plate VI. fig. 30) may have been inspired by the celebrated painting of Timomachus above-mentioned. But there are reasons for thinking that the debt owed by the Pompeian artists to the Greek schools of the Hellenistic age is not so direct as was believed by Helbig, whose Untersuchungen über die kampanische Wandmalerei won a general acceptance for the theory. It seems clear that in the central subjects of walls decorated in the Architectural style we are intended to see, not a picture in the strict sense, but a view of the outside landscape, generally with a small shrine or cult-statue as the centre of the piece; and the importance of the figure-subject was therefore at first subordinate. These subjects are, it is true, taken from Greek mythology, but this only proves that that source of inspiration was as freely drawn upon in the art as in the literature of imperial Rome. In the later styles figure-subjects Without landscape are extremely common, but it has been shown that, e.g. in the triclinium of the Casa dei Vettii, which is decorated with a cycle of mythological paintings, the lighting is carefully calculated with a view to illusionistic effect under the local conditions, so that the conception of an outlook into external space is not given up. We sometimes, as in one of the rooms in the “Farnesina” house, find framed pictures directly imitated, and here the models were clearly of a relatively early period; but this is exceptional. The Pompeian paintings, therefore, may fairly be used as evidence for the methods and aims of art in imperial Rome; and when allowance is made for their decorative character and hasty execution, we must admit that they give token of considerable technical skill—the modelling of figures is often excellent, the colour-scale rich, the “values” nicely calculated. The composition of subject-pictures is somewhat theatrical. Amongst the wall-paintings which have been preserved are some which from their classicistic style have been thought to represent Greek originals; the most famous is the “Aldobrandini Marriage” (Plate V. fig. 28), now in the Vatican library.. As a matter of fact, the composition is formed by the juxtaposition of sculpturesque types, after a fashion familiar to Roman wall-painters. Mention may here be made of the combination of ornamental work in plaster with painting which is found at Pompeii, in the work of the Flavian period at Rome, and in tombs of the 2nd century A.D. In the Augustan period we find exquisitely modelled relief-work in plaster, used to ornament vaulted surfaces in the “Farnesina” house; it might seem natural to treat of these under the heading of Sculpture, but in point of fact they are translations from painting into stucco. At a later time both painter and modeller worked in conjunction, with admirable effect; the results are best seen in the tombs on the Latin Way.
Little can be said as to Roman portrait-painting. We know that in this branch of art the technique generally used was that called “encaustic.” The colours were mixed with liquefied wax and fixed by heat; whether they were applied in a molten state or not has been disputed, but it seems more likely that the pigments were laid on cold, and a hot instrument used afterwards. Several examples of such wax-paintings have been found in Egypt, where it was the custom during the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. to substitute panel portraits for the plastic masks with which mummy-cases were adorned; but these cannot be described as works of high art, though they sometimes have realistic merit. A good example in the Berlin Museum (Antike Denkmäler, ii. pl. 13) is executed in tempera on primed canvas. The medium used in ancient as in medieval tempera painting appears from the statements of ancient writers to have been yolk of egg mixed with fig-sap or natural gums.
To the little we know of purely Roman painting something is added by that which we learn from the remains of the sister art of mosaic, which, being less easily destroyed, have survived in large numbers to the present day. It has been estimated by Gauckler that considerably more than 2000 mosaics with figure-subjects have been discovered; and the number is steadily increasing. For the origin of the art reference may be made to the article Mosaic, where the reader will also find an explanation of the essential differences of principle between the arts of painting and mosaic. It is to the credit of the Roman artists that they were, generally speaking, alive to this distinction of method, and did not seek to produce the impression of painting executed with a liquid medium by the use of solid materials. Indeed, it seems not improbable that in this respect they had a truer conception of the function of mosaic decoration than their Greek forerunners. Amongst the mosaics of Roman date which employ a large number of exceedingly minute cubes in order to produce an illusion akin to that of painting, the most conspicuous examples are the pavement in the Lateran Museum signed by the Greek Heraclitus, which appears to reproduce the “unswept hall” of Sosos of Pergamum (see Mosaic), and the Mosaic of the Doves from Hadrian's Villa, preserved in the Capitoline Museum, which may be supposed to have been inspired by the “drinking dove” of the same artist. The former of these contains about 120, the latter as many as 160 cubes to the square inch.
As shown in the article Mosaic, a distinction must be drawn between opus tessellatum, consisting of cubes regularly disposed in geometrical patterns, and opus vermiculatum, in which a picture is produced by means of cubes irregularly placed. The two methods were commonly used in conjunction by the Romans, who recognized that a pavement should emphasize the form of the room to which it belonged by means of a geometrical border, while figure-subjects should be reserved for the central space. A good example is furnished by a mosaic pavement discovered on the Aventine in 1858, and preserved in the Museo delle Terme (Plate VI. fig. 29). Enclosed within a geometrical framework of guilloches and scroll-work, diversified with still-life subjects and scenic masks which break its monotony, we find a landscape evidently taken from the banks of the Nile, as the hippopotamus and crocodile, as well as the papyrus and lotus, clearly show. These Egyptian scenes are likewise found at Pompeii, and the celebrated pavement at Palestrina, with a bird's-eye view of the Nile and its surroundings, is the finest, as well as the latest, example of the class. The conclusion to be drawn is that the Roman mosaic-workers of the early Empire owed much to Alexandrian models. Their finer works, however, were restricted in size, and formed small pictures isolated in geometrical pavements. Such mosaic-pictures were called emblemata, and were often transported from the great centres of production to distant provinces, where pavements were prepared for their reception. The subjects of these emblemata, like those of the wall-paintings of Pompeii, were, for the most part, taken from Greek mythology, and it is not easy to determine what degree of originality is to be assigned to Roman artists. We note a certain interest in the great figures of literature and philosophy. A subject of which two somewhat different versions have been preserved, commonly known as “The Academy of Plato,” shows us a group of Greek philosophers engaged in discussion. In provincial pavements it is not uncommon to find portraits of poets or philosophers used to fill ornamental schemes of decoration, as in the famous mosaic at Trier signed by Monnus. And it is possible to trace the growth of interest in Roman literature at the expense of that of Greece. Fig. 31 (Plate VI.) shows a mosaic discovered in the tablinum of a villa at Sousse (Susa) in Tunis (the ancient Hadrumetum). It represents the poet Virgil seated, with a scroll on his knee, upon which is written Aen. i. 8; beside him stand the muses of tragedy and history. In one of the side-wings (alae) of the atrium was a mosaic representing the parting of Aeneas from Dido, and this was no doubt balanced by another scene from the Aeneid. It has also been shown that the mythological scenes depicted by the mosaic-workers of the later imperial period are frequently inspired, not by Greek poetry or even Greek artistic tradition, but by the works of Ovid; and the popularity of the legend of Cupid and Psyche is doubtless to be traced to its literary treatment by Apuleius.
The mosaic shown in fig. 31 is notable for the simplicity of its composition; and it may be laid down as a general rule that the later workers in this field preferred such subjects, consisting of few figures on a neutral background, which lend themselves to broad treatment, and are best suited to the genius of mosaic. The finer pavements discovered in the villas of the landed proprietors of the African provinces, Gaul, and even Britain, are distinguished by the excellent taste with which ornament and subject are adapted to the space at the disposal of the artist. Beside a well-chosen repertory of geometrical patterns, the mosaic-workers make use of vegetable motives taken from the vine, the olive, the acanthus or the ivy, as well as conventional figures, such as the seasons, the winds, the months and allegorical figures of all kinds, forming elements in a scheme of decoration which, though often of great richness, is never lacking in symmetry and sobriety.
It is much to be regretted that the destruction, partial or complete, of the great thermae and palaces of the early Empire has deprived us of the means of passing judgment on the opus musivum proper (see Mosaic), i.e. the decoration of vaults and wall-surfaces with mosaics in glass, enamel or precious materials. Effective as are the pavements constructed with tesserae of marble or coloured stone, they must have been eclipsed by the brilliant hues of the wall-mosaics. We can form but little idea of these from the decoration of fountains at Pompeii and elsewhere, and must depend chiefly on the compositions which adorn the walls and apses of early Christian basilicas. An attempt has, indeed, been made to prove that one of these—the church of S. Maria Maggiore—is nothing else than a private basilica once belonging to a Roman palace, and that its mosaics date from the period of Septimius Severus; but it is impossible to accept this theory. The earliest monument of the class which we are now considering is the baptistery of S. Costanza at Rome, built by Constantine in the early years of the 4th century A.D. Unfortunately the mosaics of the cupola were destroyed in the 16th century, and we derive our knowledge of them from drawings made by Francesco d'Olanda. The tambour was decorated with a maritime landscape diversified with islands and filled with a crowd of putti fishing; and the cupola itself was divided into twelve compartments, containing figure-subjects, by acanthus motives and caryatids. The mosaics of the annular vault which surrounds the baptistery are extant, though much restored, and purely pagan in design, showing that the decorative schemes (Eros and Psyche, vine-patterns, medallions, &c.), commonly found in pavements were also used by the musivarii. The mosaic-panels of the nave of S. Maria Maggiore already mentioned are (in the absence of earlier examples) very instructive as to the artistic quality of Roman opus musivum. Richter and Taylor's publication of some of the unrestored portions, which unfortunately form but a small fraction of the whole, serve to show that the musivarii had an accurate conception of the true function of mosaic destined to be seen at a distance. Their effects are produced by a bold use of simple means; a few large cubes of irregular shape serve to give just the broad impression of a human face or figure which suits the monumental surroundings and subdued light. Very remarkable is the success with which the atmospheric backgrounds are treated. To seek delicate gradations of tint by elaborate means would be waste of labour for the mosaic-worker, but the artists of S. Maria Maggiore are able to produce sky and cloud effects (cf. Plate V. fig. 25) of great beauty, when seen from the floor of the church, with the aid of broad masses of colour. Their gamut of tones is of the richest; and it is to be remarked that no gold is used except in the restored parts. Doubtless gold was employed in decorative wall-mosaics before the Constantinian period; but the Roman musivarius knew the secret of making a true mosaic picture with natural tints alone.
(4) Work in Precious Metals.—In the article Plate the history of this branch of art in ancient times is treated, and it is there shown that it continued to be a living art, capable of producing works of the highest merit, in Roman times. The sections of Pliny's Natural History (xxxiii. 154 sqq.) which treat of caelatura deal only with the works of Greek artists, and Pliny ends with the statement that, as silver-chasing was in his time a lost art, specimens of embossed plate were valued according to their antiquity; but the extant remains of Roman plate suffice to disprove his statement, and in a previous passage (xxxiii. 139) he names the principal ateliers where such works were produced. The famous treasure of Bosco Reale (see Plate) comprises specimens of silver-work belonging to various dates, many of which bear the inscription “Maximae”; this doubtless gives the name of the owner of the objects, whose skeleton was found near the treasure. But some of them had passed through other hands; for example, four “salt-cellars,” probably of pre-Roman date, are also inscribed with the name of “Pamphilus, the freedman of Caesar.” Certain pieces, too, seem older and more worn than others; two ewers, decorated with Victories sacrificing to Athena, are probably of Alexandrian origin—the lotus-flower on their handles most probably points to their Egyptian provenance. On the other hand, the various decorative styles characteristic of Augustan art are well represented,—not merely the elaborate and conventional plant-systems of the Ara Pacis Augustae, teeming with animal life, which adorn two splendid canthari, but also the naturalistic treatment of vegetable forms, of which a cup decorated with sprays of olive furnishes a good example (Plate VII. fig. 32). But the most important pieces in the collection are those which show the silversmith at work on specifically Roman subjects. Amongst the cups with emblemata (for the meaning of the term see Plate) were two which originally contained small portrait busts of the master and mistress of the house to which the collection belonged. One of these became detached, and is now in the British Museum; the other is in the Louvre in its original setting. The lady's coiffure resembles that of the empresses of the later Julio-Claudian period; but this is not conclusive as to date, and the style of the male portrait (which recalls the realistic bronze busts found at Pompeii) points rather to an early Flavian date. Amongst the finest pieces of this collection is a large bowl with an emblema in high relief (Plate VII. fig. 35), which was at first taken to represent the city of Alexandria, on account of the sistrum which appears amongst the attributes of the figure. It seems, however, to be a personification of the province of Africa, which was conventionally represented with a headdress formed by an elephant's scalp with trunk and tusks. We have in this emblema the earliest example of the ideal types which the Roman artists of the Empire called into being to symbolize the subject-countries; the inexhaustible fertility of the African soil is indicated by the cornucopia and the fruits carried in the bosom of the figure. But there is some trace of that overcharging of symbolism to which we drew attention in discussing the Prima Porta statue of Augustus; and, though the bowl was in a very fine state of preservation, there is little doubt that this was due to the care with which it had been kept—it was of course an ornament reserved for the table or sideboard—and that we should date it to the Augustan period. The same is clearly true of the most important pieces comprised in the treasure—the pair of cups reserved by Baron Edmond de Rothschild and forming part of his collection (Plate VII. figs. 33 and 34). In these we have examples of the crustae, or plaques decorated in repoussé, which were mounted on smooth silver cups. The manufacture of these—or at least the designing thereof—was a special branch of caelatura, and Pliny mentions an artist named Teucer who achieved distinction therein; we may possibly identify him with the gem-engraver whose signature is read on an amethyst at Florence. Upon one of these (Plate VII. fig. 34), we see a seated figure of Augustus, approached by a processional group on both sides. To the left are three divinities, the foremost of whom presents a statuette of Victory to the emperor; to the right is Mars in full panoply, in whose train follow the conquered provinces, symbolized by female figures, amongst whom we recognize Africa with her elephant headgear (see above). On the other face of the cup we see Augustus again seated, receiving the homage of a group of barbarians ushered into his presence by a Roman commander. The schemes which are here found for the first time, became typical in Roman historical art, and thence passed into the service of Christianity to portray the homage of the Magi. The second cup celebrates the glories of Tiberius, whose triumphal procession appears on the one face, and a finely conceived scene of sacrifice on the other. For the occasion various dates have been suggested (13-12 or 8-7 B.C.); but it seems most likely that the return of Tiberius from Dalmatia in A.D. 9 is here commemorated.
The fortunate preservation of the Bosco Reale treasure has enabled us to appraise Roman silver work at its true value. It also affords some confirmation of the rapid decadence of the art, which Pliny laments. Amongst the cups are two decorated with still-life subjects and signed by an artist who writes a Roman name (Sabinus) in Greek characters, which clearly belong to the last years of Pompeii, and are coarser in execution than the earlier pieces. And the simple emblemata of the classical period, which stand out against the background of the bowl in which they are framed, give place to such a crowded group as we find on a gold patera found at Rennes and preserved in the Cabinet des Médailles, where the artist has surrounded the central emblema with a frieze which detracts from its effect. This and still later specimens of Roman silversmiths' work are described in the article Plate.
(5) Gem-Engraving and Minor Arts.—The art of the gem engraver, like that of the silversmith, was naturally held in high esteem by the wealthy Romans both of the Republic and Empire, and the period of its highest excellence coincides almost precisely with that which gave birth to the masterpieces of Roman silver-chasing. By far the greater part of the ancient gems which exist in modern collections belong to the Roman period; and the great popularity of gem-engraving amongst the Romans is shown by the enormous number of imitative works cast in coloured glass paste, which reproduce the subjects represented in more precious materials. Not only were intagli thus produced to suit the popular demand, but fine cameos were at times cut (not cast) in coloured glass; the most notable example of these is a portrait of Tiberius in turquoise-coloured glass bearing the signature of Herophilus (see below).
In the style of Roman intagli we can trace each of the phases through which Roman plastic art has been shown to pass. A black agate in the Hague Museum (Furtwängler, pl. xlvii. 13) supplies a characteristic portrait of the Ciceronian age; the splendid carnelian of the Tyszkiewicz collection (Furtwängler, pl. 1. 19) with the signature ΠΟΠΙΑ · ΑΛΒΑΝ · which portrays Augustus in the guise of Poseidon in a chariot drawn by four hippocamps, is doubtless (as Furtwängler showed) to be referred to the victory of Actium; the classicism of the early Empire is exemplified by a sardonyx in Florence (Furtwängler, pl. lix., 11), which probably displays an empress of the Julio-Claudian line with the attributes of Hera; a sardonyx in the hermitage at St Petersburg (Furtwängler, pl. lviii. 1) is noteworthy because the subject is borrowed from painting and occurs on a Pompeian fresco discovered in 1897; the portraiture of the Flavian epoch is seen at its best in the aquamarine of the Cabinet des Médailles signed by Euhodos, which represents Julia, the daughter of Titus (Furtwängler, pl. xlviii. 8). Amongst later gems one of the finest is the “Hunt of Commodus” in the Cabinet des Médailles (Furtwängler, pl. l. 41), which is engraved in one of the stones most popular with the Roman artists—the “Nicolo,” a sardonyx with a bluish-grey upper layer used as background and a dark brown under layer in which the design is cut.
But the masterpieces of Roman gem-cutting are to be found in the great cameos, the finest of which no doubt belonged to the treasures of the imperial house. These were engraved in various materials, including single coloured stones such as amethyst or chalcedony; but the stone most fitted by nature for this branch of art was the sardonyx in its two chief varieties—the Indian, distinguished by the warmth and lustre of its tones, and the Arabian, with a more subdued scale of colour. As examples of these we shall take-the two master-works of the art—the “Grand camée de France” (Plate VII. fig. 37), and the “Gemma Augustea” (Plate VII. fig. 36), preserved in the imperial collection at Vienna. The latter is attributed by Furtwängler to Dioscorides, the artist who, as Pliny tells us, enjoyed the exclusive privilege of portraying the features of Augustus. We possess several gems inscribed with his name, as well as with those of his sons and pupils—Eutyches, Herophilus (see above) and Hyllos; and, though several of these are Renaissance forgeries, enough genuine material exists for an appreciation of his style. The Arabian sardonyx was amongst his favourite stones, and the Vienna cameo at least represents the work of his school. Blending the real with the ideal, the artist has represented in the upper zone Augustus and Rome enthroned. Behind them is a group of divine figures—the inhabited Earth, Time and Tellus, according to the most probable interpretation; to the left we see Tiberius descending from a chariot driven by Victory, before which stands a youth, probably Germanicus. We seem to have here, as in the Bosco Reale cup, a scene from the triumphal procession of A.D. 12, in the course of which, as Suetonius tells us, Tiberius stepped down from his car and did homage to his stepfather. In the lower zone we find loosely composed groups of captives and Roman soldiers, some of whom are setting up a trophy.
But the supreme triumph of imperial jewelry is attained in the Great Cameo of the Bibliothèque Nationale. This is an Indian sardonyx cut in five layers, the largest extant example of its class. There is a marked advance on the Vienna cameo in composition; the lower zone is reduced to the proportions of an exergue, whilst heaven and earth are kept clearly apart in the main subject, yet at the same time united in a single picture. In the centre are the living members of the Julio-Claudian house—Tiberius and Livia enthroned, together with Germanicus, his mother, and the rising generation—while above them hovers the deified Augustus, together with other deceased members of the family and an ideal figure in Phrygian garb bearing a globe, probably Iulus (Ascanius), or even Aeneas himself. The moment depicted is the departure of Germanicus for the East in A.D. 17, and amongst the figures of the central group we note the muse of history, bearing a scroll upon which to record the hero's deeds, and a personification of Armenia.
Engraved gems are not the only examples of Roman work in precious materials. Amongst the portraits of the first dynasty none is finer than a small head of Agrippina the younger (recently acquired by the British Museum) in plasma (root-of-emerald), a material much used by Roman gem-cutters. Vases, again, were carved in precious stones, such as the famous onyx vase at Brunswick (Furtwängler, Die antiken Gemmen, figs. 185-88), adorned with reliefs relating to the mysteries of Eleusis. A smaller, but finer, onyx vase in the Berlin Museum (Furtwängler, op. cit., figs. 183, 184) represents the infancy of a prince of the Julian line—a rock surmounted by a small temple recalls the sculptures of the Ara Pacis, and the work seems to be of Augustan date.
It was mentioned above that coloured glass was used as a substitute for gems, and it is to the school which produced the cameos of the early Empire that we owe the exquisite vases in white and blue glass of which the Portland vase is the most famous example. Pompeii furnishes a second in the amphora, decorated with vintage scenes, in the Naples Museum.
We must also class amongst the fine arts that of the die-sinker. Not only are the imperial portraits found on coins worthy of a place beside the works of the sculptor, but in the “medallions” of the 2nd century A.D. we find figure-subjects, often recalling those of contemporary reliefs, treated with the utmost delicacy and finish.
Of the purely industrial arts it is unnecessary to speak at length. The finds made in Gaul, Germany and Britain have enabled archaeologists to trace their history—particularly that of pottery—in some detail; but the chief importance of these discoveries lies in the fact that they prove the gradual diffusion of artistic talent throughout the provinces. In the last century of the republic a flourishing manufacture of red glazed pottery was established with its chief centre at Arretium (Arezzo); the signatures of the vases enable us to distinguish a number of workshops owned by Romans who employed Greek or Oriental workmen. The repertory of decorative types used by these humble artists reflects the cross-currents of classicism and naturalism which were contending in the decadence of Hellenistic art; but, if we cannot set a high substantive value on their works, it is important to note that in the 1st century A.D. the Italian fabrics were gradually driven out of the market by those of Gaul, where the industry took root in the Cevennes and the valleys of the Rhone and the Allier; and before long north-eastern Gaul and the Rhineland became centres of production in the various minor arts, which continued to flourish until the breakdown of the imperial system in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D.
(6) Summary: the Place of Roman Art in History.—Just as the establishment of the Roman Empire gave a political unity to the ancient world, and the acceptance of Christianity by its rulers assured the triumph of a universal religion, so the growth of a Graeco-Roman nationality, due to the freedom of intercourse between the subjects of the emperors, led to a unity of culture which found expression in the art of the time. Yet no sooner was the fusion of the elements which contributed to the new culture complete than the process of disruption began, which issued in the final separation of the Eastern from the Western Empire. In the first, the oriental factors, which produced a gradual transformation in Graeco-Roman art, definitely triumphed; and the result is seen in Byzantine art. But in the West it was otherwise. The realism native to Italy remained alive in spite of the conventions imposed upon it; the human interest asserted itself against the decorative. The Christian art of the West, therefore, is the true heir of the Roman, and, through the Roman, of the classical tradition. The mosaics of S. Maria Maggiore, already referred to, show how strongly this tradition was at work in the 1st century of the Christian Empire; and monuments of the 5th century A.D., such as the consular diptychs of ivory and the carved doors of S. Sabina at Rome, tell the same tale. As we have seen, Roman art in its specific quality was an historical art; and it was for this reason eminently fitted for the service of an historical religion. The earliest Christian art whose remains are preserved is that of the catacombs; and this is not only devoid of technical merit, but is also dominated by a single idea, which governs the selection of subjects—that of deliverance from the grave and its terrors, whether this be conveyed by scriptural types or by representations of Paradise and its dwellers. Not until the church's triumph was complete could she command the services of the highest art and unfold her sacred story on the walls of her basilicas; but, when the time came, the monumental art created by the demands of imperial pride was ready to minister ad majorem gloriam Dei.
Bibliography.—F. Wickhoff's Roman Art (1900), translated by Mrs Strong from the author's Wiener Genesis, is well illustrated and indispensable to the student. A. Riegl's Spätrömische Kunstindustrie in Österreich-Ungarn (1901) also repays close study. The views of Strzygowski are expressed in a large number of monographs and essays; the most important are Orient oder Rom (1901), Kleinasien, ein Neuland der Kunstgeschichte (1903), “Mschatta” (Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen, 1904), Der Dom zu Aachen und seine Entstellung (1904), and articles in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, Byzantinische Denkmäler, and other periodicals. A summary of the debate raised by these writers will be found in the Quarterly Review, January 1906 (Stuart Jones). The controversy carried on by Furtwängler and Studniczka as to the date of the Trophy of Adam-Klissi is instructive. Furtwängler's articles appeared in the Transactions of the Munich Academy for 1903-4, Studniczka's (“Tropaeum Trajani”) in Abhandlungen der Sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, xxii. (1904).
Of Roman sculpture Mrs Strong's handbook (Roman Sculpture, 1907), which has a great number of excellent illustrations, gives a general survey. Special branches are treated by E. Courbaud (Le Bas-relief romain à réprésentations historiques, 1899), W. Altmann (Die römischen Grabaltäre der Kaiserzeit, 1905), A. J. Wace (“The Evolution of Art in Roman Portraiture,” Transactions of the British and American Archaeological Society of Rome, 1906). There has been much recent discussion of historical monuments in Rome in the Papers of the British School at Rome, the Römische Mitteilungen of the German Archaeological Institute, the Jahreshefte of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and the Neue Jahrbücher für Philologie. Important publications of single monuments are: O. Benndorf (and others), Das Tropaion von Adamklissi (1895); E. Petersen, Ara Pacis Augustae (1903; further discoveries since this date are discussed by the author in Jahreshefte des österreichischen arch. Instituts (1906), 298 ff., and Sieveking in the same journal (1907), 175 ff.); C. Cichorius, Die Reliefs der Trajanssäule (1896-1900), criticized by E. Petersen, Trajans dakische Kriege (1899-1903); E. Ferrero, L'Arc d'Auguste à Suse (1901); E. Petersen (and others), Die Marcussäule (1896).
For Roman portraits Bernoulli's Römische Ikonographie (4 vols., 1882-94) gives abundant material but little aesthetic criticism. Many of the finest portraits are included in Arndt-Bruckmann's series of Griechische und römische Porträts, and Brunn-Bruckmann's Denkmäler griechisch-römischer Skulptur contain reproductions of several Roman reliefs. The monuments collected by T. Schreiber under the title of Hellenistische Reliefbilder (1894) are largely of Roman date.
For Roman painting we have as yet no handbook; W. Helbig's Untersuchungen über die campanische Wandmalerei (1873) are still of great value, though the theory advanced is overstated. His Campaniens Wandgemälde (1868) gives a catalogue raisonné of Pompeian paintings, and has been supplemented by A. Sogliano, Le pitture murali Campane (1879). Those since discovered are described in the Notizie degli Scavi. A. Mau's Geschichte der Wandmalerei is also indispensable. Hermann-Bruckmann, Denkmäler der Malerei des Alterthums (1907-), will give reproductions, partly in colour, of all important specimens of ancient painting. Le Nozze Aldobrandine, &c., by B. Nogara (1907), contains both coloured and photographic reproductions of the paintings preserved in the Vatican library. For the Fayūm portraits see G. Ebers, Antike Porträts (Leipzig, 1893); F. Petrie, Hawara, ch. vii.; and C. Edgar, Catalogue des antiquités du musée du Caire, “Graeco-Egyptian Coffins,” p. xi. ff. On the technique of ancient painting Otto Donner von Richter's introduction to Helbig's Campaniens Wandgemälde should be consulted. P. Girard's sketch of ancient painting (La Peinture antique, n.d.) is slight. For the bibliography of mosaics see that article (especially Gauckler in Daremberg and Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités, s.v. “Musivum Opus”); for work in gold and silver see the article Plate. For gem-engraving, A. Furtwängler's Die antiken Gemmen (3 vols., 1900) is the standard work. The history of Roman pottery is summarized by H. B. Walters, History of Ancient Pottery, vol. ii. 430 ff.; the most important works are J. Déchelette, Les Vases ornés de la Gaule romaine (1904), and H. Dragendorff's articles on “Terra sigillata” in the Bonner Jahrbücher.
Sections on Roman art will be found in general handbooks, such as Springer-Michaelis, Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte (6th ed., 1904); L. von Sybel, Weltgeschichte der Kunst (2nd ed., 1902); and C. Gurlitt, Geschichte der Kunst, vol. i. (1902).
- (H. S. J.)
|Photo, Anderson.||Photo, Anderson.|
|Fig. 17.—CAESAR AUGUSTUS.||Fig. 18.—MEDALLION, ARCH OF CONSTANTINE.|
|CONSTANTINE DISTRIBUTING A DOLE.|
|CONSTANTINE ON THE ROSTRUM.|
|Fig. 19.—BAS-RELIEFS ON THE ARCH OF CONSTANTINE.|
|Photo, Brogi.||From Piot's Monuments, by permission of Ernest Leroux|
|Fig. 30.—MEDEA.||Fig. 31.—THE VIRGIL MOSAIC.|
|Fig. 33.—CUP IN THE BARON
|Fig. 34.—CUP IN THE BARON|
|EMBLEMA, IN HIGH|
OF THE PROVINCE OF AFRICA.
- The eleventh book of Winckelmann's Geschichte der Kunst, which deals with art under the Romans, contains notable proofs of the author's sureness of vision; for example, he divined the true date and affinities of the reliefs in the Villa Borghese, afterwards wrongly attributed to the time of Claudius (see below).
- “Über die römischen Triumphalreliefs und ihre Stellung in der Kunstgeschichte” (Abhandlungen der sächs. Gesellsch. der Wissenschaften, vi., 1874).
- H.N. xxxv. 154.
- H.N. xxxiv. 34; cf. 43; and see Quint. xii. 10, 1.
- It is very remarkable that the coin-portraits of the Gallic usurper Postumus (A.D. 258-68) are executed in precisely the same style; the coins were struck either at Trier or at Cologne.
- Römische Mitteilungen (1902), pl. vii.
- See Altmann, Die italischen Rundbauten (1906).
- Some doubt has recently been cast on the identification of the emperor and his family.
- Papers of the British School at Rome, vol. iii. pp. 229 ff. Sieveking (Röm. Mitth. (1907) pp. 345 ff.) believes that four of the medallions only belong to the Flavian period and the rest to Hadrian's reign.
- On this subject see Mr Crowfoot's paper in Journal of Hellenic Studies, xx. (1900) pp. 31 ff. A list of examples is given by Mr Wace in Papers of the British School at Rome, vol. iii. pp. 290 ff.
- Mr Wace has recently identified the reliefs which show an emperor sacrificing before the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus as a part of the frieze (Papers of the British School at Rome, iv. pp. 229 ff.).
- These features make it clear that the reliefs in the Villa Borghese, formerly supposed to belong to an arch of Claudius, are Trajanic; see Papers of the British School at Rome, iii. pp. 215 ff. (Stuart Jones).
- Thus Cichorius, in his publication of the reliefs, has been able to identify several of the corps which took part in the war; e.g. the “cohorts of Roman citizens” are distinguished from the barbarian auxiliaries by the national emblems on their shields.
- The significance of these reliefs was first demonstrated by Domaszewski (Jahreshefte des österreichischen archäologischen Instituts, ii. 1899, pp. 173 ff.); a full account will be found in Mrs Strong's Roman Sculpture, ch. 9.
- It is in the portraits of the Hadrianic period that we first meet with the plastic rendering (in marble) of the iris and pupil of the eye; on the significance of this convention see above.
- On these see Lucas's article in Jahrb. des k. deutschen arch. Instituts (1900), pp. 1 ff., and Mrs Strong, Roman Sculpture, pp. 243 ff.
- This series of panels is discussed in Papers of the British School at Rome, vol. iii. p. 251 ff.
- Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen (1904), p. 271.
- Papers of the British School at Rome, iv. pl. xxxiv., from which fig. 15 is taken.
- Amm. Marc. xvi. 10. 10.
- See Mr Wace's article in Papers of the British School at Rome, iv. pp. 270 ff.
- His view is accepted by Mrs Strong (Roman Sculpture, p. 99).
- “Tropaeum Trajani” (Abhandlungen der sächs. Gesellsch. der Wissenschaften, xxii., pp. 88 ff.).
- Hettner, Illustrierter Führer durch das National Museum zu Trier (1903), pp. 2 ff.
- Some fine examples are in the Jacobsen collection; see Arndt-Bruckmann, Griechische und römische Portraits, pls. 59, 60.
- H.N. xxxv. 136.
- Journal of Hell. Stud. iv. (1883), pls. xxxvi.-xxxviii.
- Pliny, H.N. xxxv. 18.
- Ibid. xxxv. 22.
- Bullettino Comunale (1889), pls. xi. xii.
- The latter of these is so badly preserved that the subject cannot be precisely identified.
- The Elder Pliny's Chapters on the History of Art, p. 238.
- The most striking example is that from the “House of Livia” on the Palatine.
- At least fifty examples of these have been found.
- See Richter and Taylor, The Golden Age of Classic Christian Art (1904).
- Works of pure gold have but rarely survived to modern times; but traces of gilding remain upon many of the specimens of plate described above. In the law-books we have mention of cups adorned with golden crustae.
- We first hear of collections of gems in the last century of the Republic. Pompey dedicated that which had belonged to Mithridates the Great on the Capitol; Julius Caesar placed six collections in the temple of Venus Genitrix; and Marcellus dedicated another in the temple of Apollo on the Palatine.
- The references given in the text are to Furtwängler's great work, Die antiken Gemmen, in which all ancient gems of any considerable importance are reproduced.
- The tradition that this was found in the well-known sarcophagus of the early 3rd century now in the Capitoline Museum, formerly supposed to contain the ashes of Severus Alexander, is without foundation.
- For bronze-work see Willers in Rheinisches Museum (1907), pp. 133 ff.
- This principle is consistently applied by von Sybel, Christliche Antike (Marburg, 1907).