The Column Antoninus Pius

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The Column of Antoninus Pius was a Roman triumphal column dedicated to honor the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina the Elder by his successors, co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, in 161 A.D. The column alone was 14.75 meters high and 1.90 meters in diameter, which was composed, of red granite, with no reliefs on the column like other triumphal columns such as those of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. The column itself has been lost to history, however the base expresses iconography that art historians are still studying and interpreting today. The main components of the base of the column contain two funerary decursio sides, and the depiction of the apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder, the decursio and apotheosis depict two separate but equally important styles and motifs.
The decursio sides are representations of Antoninus Pius’ deification and funerary rites. The depiction consists of the cavalry circling the standing figures, two of whom carry military standards, while the rest are wearing their cuirass. These scenes represent the ceremony that is essential for the deification of the imperial members. The style that is used within these sides is in relief form, yet they also break from the traditional Classical style. The variation of the Classical style is prominent by depicting stocky human forms and using two types of perspective within a single space. The figures also lack the gracefulness of other works during this time that follow the Classical style. The perspective of the piece is unclear where the figures seem to be suspended in space for what seems to be an overhead view while at the same time using a single perspective. Despite the deviation of the Classical style this p...

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...ntal because it set a precedent of using both traditional and untraditional styles to make a work coexist.
Consequentially, the Column of Antoninus Pius is a commemorative column for the deification of Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder, after their deaths. The column itself was undecorated which was different from a previous commemorative column, such as Trajan’s; the column is lost to history however the base still tells its story. The decursio depicts the importance to the Romans of the deification and funerary rites of the imperial couple. The apotheosis sense depicts Rome’s imperial supremacy, their god’s, and the authority of Rome itself. Culturally and artistically this piece of work helps viewers see the ascent of a god and the ceremony that it requires all the while viewing different style within the same work, classical and unconventional styles.

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