Rome

After their military conquest of Greece, the Romans became the immediate successors of Greek civilization, continuing the technical and stylistic tradition of ancient Greece and the Hellenistic period and making them their own. The energetic Romans initially found great difficulty in developing an independent art and architecture of their own, and were pressed to employ the Greek Orders, which they did with certain changes—especially in the Doric order, whose properties they modified.While the Romans adopted the three columnar orders of the Greeks, they seem to have had a strong preference for the richness of the Corinthian order, which they adopted and made the preferred form in the Roman design vocabulary (Figure 1.23b). They also added two other orders, the Tuscan (Figure 1.28), which is essentially a simplified Doric form developed from the Etruscan style with no flutings, and the Composite Order which had for the design of its capital the two rows of acanthus leaves of the

FIGURE 1.27a Vase painting, throne with cut-out legs and footstool (c. 470 B.C.)

FIGURE 1.27b Vase painting, chair with straight legs and chair back resembling a staff with a palmette finial (c. 460 B.C.)

Corinthian and the large volutes of the Ionic (Figure 1.29). The turning point came at the end of the Republican era, when its great generals, particularly Sulla, Pompey, and Julius Caesar, provided Rome with monuments worthy of a world capital. Buildings of colossal proportions were erected during the final period of the Western Empire (3rd and 4th centuries A.D.).

By the end of the first century B.C., the Romans developed a natural concrete which consisted of a volcanic sand mixed with lime. This new material revolutionized building construction and transformed classical architecture. Because this material was not suited to the beam and post system of Greek architecture, Roman architects extended the range of the architectural system to accommodate it. Massive edifices were erected for entertainment and the adornment of the city. Besides palaces, theatres, and temples (which were loftier and grander than their Hellenistic equivalents, and which generally followed the Corinthian style, being built on a raised base), new forms were introduced: the oval amphitheatre, grand basilicas, and the countless utilitarian structures and multi-storied residential and commercial blocks.

FIGURE 1.28 Tuscan order. A simplified version of the Roman Doric order, have a plain frieze and no mutules in the cornice. (Courtesy, Cyril M. Harris, Ed., Historic Architecture Sourcebook, McGraw-Hill)

It was with the enormous vaulted halls allowed by the introduction of concrete that Rome's architectural genius really shined (Figure 1.30). The Temple to the Pantheon of the Gods in Rome, built by the emperor Hadrian in A.D 120, is an impressive example of this. The dome's diameter of nearly 150 feet (43.3 m) forms a dramatic top-lit space that is decorated with rows of colored marble columns and arches. Other examples are the vast bathing establishments like that of the Emperor Caracalla built in A.D. 216 and which could house 1600 bathers. These vast public buildings required large roofed halls.

FIGURE 1.29 Composite Order. This is one of the fine classical orders, and is an elaboration of the Corinthian Order; essentially having the ancanthus leaves of its capital combined with Ionic volutes.

The enormous energy, spirit, and spatial imagination of the Romans and their taste for mon-umentality—which is best illustrated by their architecture, particularly the imperial palaces-influenced and inspired many of the styles that followed, including Byzantium, the Renaissance, and above all, Baroque.They excelled at freeing up interior space, especially in secular and utilitarian architecture. Unlike the Greeks, the Romans often used the columns in a decorative and non-structural manner. Furthermore, the Romans gave greater importance to the design of the interior than their Greek counterparts, who possessed a preoccupation with the building's exterior. This emphasis on the interior is reflected not only in the lavish palaces and edifices Rome is famous for, but also to the majority of less pretentious dwellings, such as those at Ostia during the late Roman period (Figure 1.31).

Furniture

Documentary evidence reveals that the Romans relied on Greek furniture prototypes of the Hellenistic period for their inspiration. Furniture as a rule was sparse and limited to essentials, partly

FIGURE 1.31 Late Roman, Ostia. Plans of houses and apartment houses.A) House of Fortuna Annonaria, late 2nd century, remodeled in the 4th century. B) House of Cupid and Psyche, c. 300. C) House of Diana, c. 150. D) Gordon House, 117-138. (Courtesy Boehthius Axel Ward-Parking, J.B., Etruscan and Roman Architecture, Penguin Books)

FIGURE 1.31 Late Roman, Ostia. Plans of houses and apartment houses.A) House of Fortuna Annonaria, late 2nd century, remodeled in the 4th century. B) House of Cupid and Psyche, c. 300. C) House of Diana, c. 150. D) Gordon House, 117-138. (Courtesy Boehthius Axel Ward-Parking, J.B., Etruscan and Roman Architecture, Penguin Books)

so as not to distract from the elaborate decoration of the walls. Furniture was made of wood, marble, bronze, iron, and precious metals, usually enriched with carving or relief ornament. The dining rooms were the most elaborate areas and contained couches placed around a low central table.The men dined in a reclining position, as did the Greeks and Assyrians before them, while the women sat on chairs.The couches were covered with cushions and tapestries embroidered with gold and silver thread imported from Babylonia or Egypt (Figure 1.32).

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Easy Step-By-Step Lessons How Would You Like To Teach Yourself Some Of The Powerful Basic Techniques Of Pencil Drawing With Our Step-by-Step Tutorial. Learn the ABC of Pencil Drawing From the Experts.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment