Fine Arts | Art and Life in Ancient Rome
A210 | 2210 | Van Voorhis


Topics in Art History

During the Roman imperial period, architects and artists produced a wide
range of buildings, sculpture, paintings, pottery, metalwork, carved gems
and jewelry, coins and medallions, and textiles.  We now categorize many
of these objects as "works of art" and view them in the austere galleries
of the world's art museums.  In antiquity, however, these objects were
displayed in different public and private settings where they fulfilled a
variety of functions:  temples and cult statues were erected to honor the
gods; civic buildings and statues were set up to serve the administrative
needs of the government and to promote the political agenda of the ruling
power; domestic decor was purchased to affirm the status and good taste of
the homeowner; and funerary monuments were produced to commemorate the
dead.  This course will examine Roman art within the context of daily
life, addressing questions about how art objects were used, where they
were displayed, and who would have seen them.  We will also explore how
works of art can be used as evidence to help us reconstruct the daily
activities, societal roles, and beliefs of the Roman people.  The course
is organized thematically around different spheres of Roman life,
including politics, religion, business and commerce, spectacle and
entertainment, domestic life, and the lives of women and children.