Greek and Roman Art Essay

This essay has a total of 1347 words and 5 pages.

Greek and Roman Art




Art has changed a great deal since it began many centuries ago. Centuries, however, are
not necessary to notice the small changes that are evident even between cultures of
similar times. Such is the case with the Greeks and Romans. Both cultures had exquisite
pieces of art, but they were very different from each other. The amazing thing about art
is that no matter how many differences exist, it is still beautiful in its own sense.
There are also a number of similarities that are evident with these two cultures as well,
but the point that will be focused on is the differences that are found between Greek and
Roman art. The pieces that will be focused on from the Greeks are Black-Figured Psykter
and Red-Figured Kylix Depicting a Young Athelete, and from the Romans are Mummy Portrait
of a Man and Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman.

The Roman Portraits are located at The Menil Collection in Houston. The Mummy Portrait of
a Man is from the Fayum region in Egypt. It was painted about 150-200 B.C. It is painted
in encaustic on wood, and is a Fayum portrait. The Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman is also
from the Fayum region and painted in encaustic on wood. This portrait was painted about
150-200 B.C. The term Fayum portrait is actually derived from a Coptic word meaning “ The
land of the lake,” which refers to the artificial Lake Qarun. This lake was a project of
the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, and it was this lake that made a desert area of about
100 kilometers into one of the most fertile areas in Egypt. It was such an amazing feat
that the lake still to this day provides this region water keeping it fertile.

The purpose of the Mummy Portrait of a Man as well as the Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman
was to identify the mummy. These portraits were paintings of the person that they
identified. The edges of the paintings have paint missing, due to the fact that these
portraits were placed over the face of the mummies. The fact that both the artists of
these portraits are unknown is due to gravediggers and collectors. When a mummy was found,
the main objective was to find out more about the mummy itself, and many times the
paintings were disregarded and considered to be of no value.

The technique used with Fayum paintings is called encaustic. This style of painting
involves combining the paint with hot wax in order to obtain more resilient colors and
also to be able to contrast light and dark better. The only problem with this style of
painting is that the wax would get cold and dry up in a short period of time. The artists
had to work quickly in order to keep the pigment wax mix wet and able to spread across the
canvas or wood. In order to work faster, the painters used wide brush strokes not paying a
great deal of attention to the fine lines and details. One major advantage of using the
hot wax with the pigment is that the artist was able to capture a dark or thick appearance
as well as a light appearance to the wood while keeping the paint smooth and silky
looking. Because of the rushed way in which the portraits were painted allows for
similarities between the two. The Portrait of a Man is at a slight angle as compared to
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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