Etruscan and Roman Art

Concurrent Dates

776 BCE Rome is Founded
147 BCE Greece comes under Roman control
44 BCE Murder of Julius Caesar
30 BCE Defeat of Cleopatra and Mark Antony by Octavian (Augustus Ceasar)
325 CE Council of Nicea, Christianity is the sanctioned religion of Rome

Target Concepts

  • Roman architecture was made possible through two key innovations:  the arch and concrete
  • Roman art and architecture show influence from both the Greeks and the Etruscans
  • Romans used art and architecture as propaganda
  • Over the length of the Roman Empire, their artistic style will transition from a realistic depiction of individuals to a stylized approach
  • This shift from realism to stylization reflects changing needs and aesthetics in Roman culture
  • Roman funereal art is significant because it serves as the model for later artistic periods

Architecture Terms

Cement and Concrete




  • Barrel Vault
  • Groin Vault
  • Annular or Ring Vault
  • Dome


Before Rome: The Etruscans
Chapter 9

Sarcophagus of the Spouses
Italy.  6th century BCE painted terracotta
4’ x 7’

Tomb of the Triclinium
Italy.  5th century BCE tufa and fresco

Temple of Minerva, master sculptor Vulca
Italy.  6th century BCE original temple of wood, mud brick, or tufa. Terra cotta sculptures
Plinth, portico

Apollo, Master sculptor of Vulca
From the Temple of Minerva
Italy.  6th century BCE terra cotta

The Roman Republic
Chapter 10
6th – 1st centuries BCE

Roman Culture and Society
Romulus and Remus, patrician, plebian

The Forum of Pompeii
Pompeii, Italy. 2nd century BCE
Corinthian capital, cardo, decumanus, basilica, capitoleum

The House of the Vetti
Pompeii, Italy.  2nd century CE
atrium, impluvium, cubiculum

Frescoes from the House of the Vetti
Italy.  2nd century BCE buon fresco

Faux texture, linear perspective, atmospheric perspective

Alexander Mosaic (Battle of Issus), Roman copy of a painting by Philoxenos of Eretria
Italy.  2nd century BCE mosaic 9’x17’
Tesserae, foreshortening

Head of a Roman Patrician
Italy.  1st century BCE marble
1’ high
Imagines, Veristic/Verism

Temple of “Fortuna Virilis” (Temple of Portunus)
Italy.  1st century BCE


Imperial Rome
Chapter 10
1st c BCE thru 3rd  c CE

Julius Caesar, Octavian (Augustus), Pax Romana

Portrait of Augustus as general
Italy.  1st century BCE marble copy of bronze original
7’ high

Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar to the Augustan Peace)
Italy.  1st century BCE
Pax Augusta/Pax Romana, pilaster

  • Personification of Tellus (?)
  • Procession of the Imperial Family

Arch of Titus
Italy, 1st century CE marble
Triumphal Arch

Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)
Italy.  1st century CE
160’ high at its highest point
velarium, corinthian capital

The Forum and Markets of Trajan, by Apollodorus of Damascus
Part of the Forum of Trajan
Rome, Italy.  2nd century CE

  • Column of Trajan

Rome, Italy.  2nd century CE
dome is 142’ in diameter and 142’ tall
Oculus, coffers, niche, gilded

The Treasury of Petra
Petra, Jordan.  2nd century CE
façade is 130’ high by 90’wide

Battle of Romans and barbarians (Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus)
Italy.  3rd century CE marble
5’ high

Catacomb of Priscilla
Italy, 5th century CE excavated tufa and fresco

Santa Sabina
Italy, 5th century CE brick and stone, wooden roof