Roman Portraiture

1235 Words Mar 30th, 2015 5 Pages
Roman Portraiture

The Romans practiced the art of capturing an image of a person, otherwise known as Roman portraiture, which is a significant period in the field of portrait art. This practice continued for almost five centuries starting from Ancient Rome. It can be seen that during this period, portraits spoke a lot about a specific person thus it became an integral part of society. The way one was depicted through portraiture became very important for the Romans as it reflected not only them but their history as well. They executed this in various forms of media. Its most popular mediums were coins and sculptures but they were also done in paintings, glass, and gems. These were done in various materials such as for example; the
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This is also done to associate emperors with that of the abilities of Gods.

For the common people, portraits were mostly found in a funeral context. Tomb structures and funerary altars were filled with portraits of the families accompanied with inscriptions about their family or patrons. This practice was rooted from the tradition of the showcasing of wax portrait masks in order to commemorate the distinguished ancestry of the upper classes. The romans used these portraits masks, which had the faces of their significant ancestors such as those who held a position in public office and were givens awards or honors, to showcase their lineage. Aristocratic families and the upper class also did the same in their homes showing portraits of their family members. They wanted to show off that they come from distinguished members society as well as they are proud that they descended from them. Coming from a good family background was important to them because if you come from influential ancestors, you have the ability to be a great person as well. These portraits became an important factor for one’s success.

Roman citizens basically commissioned portraits even of themselves in order to showcase to other people what they have achieved and where they come from. It used to show off as well one’s status in society and can influence greatly how other people will come to perceive you. It can even be used to show one’s educational attainment and show that one is academic.
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