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Roman and Greek Art Essay

The Roman Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum has had a great impact on western architecture. The construction of the three dimensional elliptical amphitheatre took place between 72 AD and 80 AD in Rome (Hopkins & Beard, 2011). The constructors used various materials such as concrete.

The concrete used was obtained from a local limestone lighter than marble laid the foundation of the Colosseum. In effect, using limestone in concrete gave the amphitheatre a strong foundation. The walls were made of marble and bricks while the floor was made of sand.

Sand in Latin is known as arena, thus, the English word arena has its origin from the Latin word of sand. The most distinct technique used in construction is the use of arches. Effectively, these arches allow the creation of wedges in the amphitheatre giving it the oval shape (Coarelli & Gabucci, 2001).

Morale in Rome was low due to the death of Emperor Nero, one of the Roman Emperors held in high regard. Therefore, Vespasian, the new emperor, had to find a way to restore the Romans’ morale. Subsequently, he destroyed the palace built by Nero and started the construction of the Colosseum. Effectively, the Colosseum is representative art depicting the greatness of Rome (Coarelli & Gabucci, 2001).

According to Hopkins and Beard (2011), the Colosseum depicts the might of the Roman Empire. Using arches in construction artistically reduced the weight of the building since the amount of materials required in construction reduced. Alternatively, the materials used in constructing the Colosseum were light enough to allow the amphitheatre stand without a lot of support.

In addition, the arches allowed support of the tiered seating. Moreover, the passageways of the arches allowed easy access in the amphitheatre. The Colosseum served the people of Rome in their best sporting activities organised by their leaders. In effect, the Colosseum is historically important in the construction of modern day sports stadiums such as modern football fields.

In addition, the artistic use of light materials in the construction of the Colosseum plays the traditional role of inspiring the modern day theatres and stadia construction (Coarelli & Gabucci, 2001).

The Doryphoros

The Doryphoros is a three dimension stone sculpture of a naked human-like six feet tall man standing. Polykleitos of Argos sculptured the Doryphoros using bronze between 480 BC and 415 BC. The main process of creating this masterpiece was by sculpturing. However, sculptures require addition techniques such as the knowledge of proportionality and balance in order to stand on its own.

Therefore, for Polykleitos to create a sculpture of a human being in what is known as a chiastic pose, technical expertise in proportionality was fundamental. On the other hand, the use of balance is evident in the sculpture since the weight of the body is on one foot, and the other foot is flexed at rest (Moon, 1995).

The Doryphoros depicts the principle of proportionality in a human figure on an individual capacity. In this regard, the sculpture is a classic example of representation art because it brings out the ideal attributes of the human being in terms of proportionality. The representation is further depicted by the sculpture’s creation in that; it follows the general attribute of the relationship in all human body parts once divided.

The sculpture is a quintessence of the perfect male human form. The perfect proportional body parts and the muscles define the beauty of an athlete in ancient Greece. In addition, the artistic impression of a cool and calm youthful demeanour of a nude man, presents a sensation of nobility the Greeks identified with.

In effect, this special identification differentiated the Greeks from what they called barbaric neighbours. In traditional Greek philosophy, beauty and the goodness in an individual went hand in hand; this is a character exemplified by the sculpture of Doryphoros. In addition, the artistic impression of Doryphoros as an attractive human being went in conjunction with perfection and morals of the Greeks, a religious philosophy among ancient Greeks (Moon, 1995).


Coarelli, F. & Gabucci, A. (2001).The Colosseum. Michigan: J. Paul Getty Museum Publishers.

Hopkins, K. & Beard, M. (2011). The Colosseum. London: Profile Books Limited.

Moon, W. G. (1995). Polykleitos, The Doryphoros, and Tradition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

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IvyPanda. "Roman and Greek Art." March 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/roman-and-greek-art/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Roman and Greek Art." March 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/roman-and-greek-art/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Roman and Greek Art'. 30 March.

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