realism and documentation in roman sculpture

Tell it like it is.

The purpose of this activity is to explore a work of sculpture that shows the Roman

interest in recording events and people as they appeared, with realism. You will be

comparing that work with one that is idealized or allegorical (qualities seen in Greek art).

This exercise will help highlight the differences between realism and idealism in terms of


To prepare for this essay, do the following:

Begin by choosing, from the text, a relief from the Ara PacisAugustae, the Arch of Titus,

the Column of Trajan, OR an example of Roman portraiture to discern how an artist has

presented a factual image. You will have to research the background on the subject of

this artwork in order to provide some historical context for the work. Use only scholarly

research; Wikipedia is not acceptable.

Next, choose from the text an example of Roman portraiture or relief sculpture where

you feel the artist has used idealization or allegory to enhance the subject. (Idealization

was often used for propaganda.) Again, research the subject of the work to understand

the history or individual represented better.

When writing your comparison essay, consider the following:

ï‚· Identify the event or individual being represented in each work.

ï‚· What convinces you that the artist has rendered factual appearances? Or, what

convinces you that the representation has been idealized? Describe details to

make your case.

ï‚· If dealing with portraiture, do the sculptures seem to convey personality? If so,


ï‚· For what purpose was the image made? A private commission? A public

monument? Was it propagandistic?

ï‚· Include images of your sculptures.

Essay Writing Requirements:

1. Double-space

2. Two pages or 500+ words

3. Follow the APA style.

4. Proofread: Be sure to check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical

errors before you post it.

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