The Roman And Roman Statues Of The Bronze Statue Of Polykleitos 's Doryphoros

The Roman And Roman Statues Of The Bronze Statue Of Polykleitos 's Doryphoros

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The first Roman emperor, Augustus brought a huge change to Roman life and art in 27 B.C.E. The statue, Head of an Old Man, created between 25 B.C.E to 10 C. E displays the artistic change in physical form which reflects the social and political change of that time. The old man’s short hair, furrowed brow, wrinkled face, and deep bags under his eyes showed a portrait of hard life and hard work unlike the previous portraits of young well-muscled men in their prime. The Head of an Old Man reflected Augustus’s emphasis on moral reforms and hard work during his rule.
Before Augustus’s rule, the classical approach to depicting portraits or statues of men at that time were making them look ageless and perfect. They were shown as warriors, in their prime and youth, and to look powerful. Greek art influenced much of Roman art. Examples included the Roman marble versions of the Greek bronze statue of Polykleitos’s Doryphoros. The statue Doryphoros showcases a very muscular and built athlete using the classical Greek forms of contrapposto and canon. Contrapposto describes a human figure shifting most of his weight on one foot with a twist in the hips and legs to show movement and relaxation in appearance. Canon describes using proportions to create a perfectly balanced figure. Thus statues created before the statue, Head of an Old Man, depicted muscular ageless warriors with perfectly harmonious bodies. However, during the turn of the first century, the Roman society went through a drastic change. After his great-uncle, Julius Caesar was assassinated, Augustus avenged Caesar and defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony making him the founder of the Roman Empire and the first Emperor. However, instead of making himself the dictator like...


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...rs, and the advance of the populace. Therefore, Romans valued a different depiction that the Greeks. They focused more on hard work and model citizens rather than physically idealized men. Roman Portraiture was also for propaganda purposes, and to send out ideological messages. Therefore, this incredible realism delivers a clearly political and social message.
Thus, the Roman portrait, Head of an Old Man, has features reflecting old age and weariness to demonstrate the Republican’s period of valuing moral reforms, fighting for the love of the country, and hard work. Roman portraiture looked much more natural and incredibly realistic compared to ancient Green portraits that yearned to look idealized and beautiful. Roman portraits also showed the meticulous work of transferring unique features from the model to the statue, though there is still a generality shown.

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