When it comes to art and aesthetics, Greece had the most influence on the development of art and design in Rome, as evidenced by much of the ancient art and architecture found in Pompeii. In fact, the city of Pompeii (in the region of Campani) retained its Greek culture even after becoming a Roman colony. In Pompeii and other parts of Rome, the Greeks provided a great source of culture, beauty, and wisdom. In turn, the Romans infused these sources into their own works of art. For the most part, but not entirely, the Ancient art of Rome reflects the aesthetic influence of the Egyptians and the Greeks of earlier times.
Two works of art—the mosaic Plato’s Academy and the fresco Garden Scene—are poignant examples of the different types of art applied to the gardens and interiors of Pompeian villas and homes. A marble sculpture of the goddess Aphrodite from the early first century also reflects the Roman interest in Greek mythology, art forms, and styles.
Paintings and Mosaics
The Romans created mosaics in local colors that were extracted from stone, plants and other sources. Several examples of colorful mosaics were displayed in Pompeii. These paintings showed scenes of everyday life in the countryside.
Romans found great beauty in the mosaics of Babylon, and as a result, they decided to copy the art form, and then add it to buildings and other forms of architecture.
Two different styles of Roman mosaics are: opus sectile opus tessellatum. Both types of mosaics were mainly used to create scenes from life-like paintings.
In order to create a specific design, Roman artists used shapes of stone that were cut and inlaid into walls and floors. The most common materials used to create opus sectile were marble, mother of pearl, and glass.
Opus tessellatum mosaics, on the other hand, are much like dice. Since they are square in shape, the Romans used them mainly to decorate the floors inside large buildings. The Romans also created life-like statues and busts made of clay and marble by incorporating some of the design ideas from Greek statues.
Since these statues were created as homage to gods or important leaders, Roman sculptors often used metal in order to strengthen their creations. Even today, you can still experience some of these life-size works of art in museums throughout the world.
The Philosophy Of Art In Roman Culture
The art and architecture of Rome encompassed many of the ideas and thoughts of Roman and Greek philosophers. For example, Greek philosophers felt that aesthetically pleasing objects were beautiful in and of themselves. Famous Greek philosopher Plato also said that beautiful objects incorporated proportion, harmony, and unity among their parts. In the Metaphysics, Aristotle also said the universal elements of beauty are order, symmetry, and definiteness.