Roman sculpture

The Roman sculpture this is considered one of the artistic most striking manifestations , no more relevant than Greek sculpture, but if I had a big influence for the time, was distributed quickly through the different regions having different functions, performances and supports.

Related topics

Greek sculpture

What is Roman sculpture?

Roman sculpture is a form of artistic manifestation in which the inhabitants of Rome relied to create any type of  ideation that occurred to them , taken in the same way as a  highly complex movement,  since it partially triggered what was the architectural development in Rome, thanks to the fact that most of the triumphal arches found in this country are clearly sculptures that at the time were slightly exaggerated and were left in such a way that they were passed from category , not only being part of the sculpture, but also of architecture.  Although for many Roman sculpture is a vile copy of Greek sculpture, it knew how to develop itself differently in various fields, which distinguished it and made it famous throughout the world.

  • Origin of Roman sculpture
  • History
  • Types
  • Characteristics of Roman sculpture
  • Techniques
  • materials
  • Themes of Roman sculpture
  • Importance

Origin of Roman sculpture

Its origin dates back to the 6th century BC, it is said to have derived from ancient Greece and the sculpture that was manifested at that time, although there is also a theory that part of what was the inheritance of Etruscan sculpture , which was one of the great and majestic artistic manifestations for the time; it is mostly compared to Hellenistic sculpture from Greece .


After starting this artistic movement based on what Greek traditions were, however, after the Roman empire gave rise and warriors began to develop, plagiarism with Greek traditions and customs was left behind , giving way to a new time for Rome, in which it innovated and played with what sculpture was , adding in this way what portrait is , a branch that developed based on sculpture that caused much controversy, but was quickly accepted, for the same reason the Roman sculpture rose like foam and found itself at the peak of its heyday, full of prestige thanks to the great techniques that were used, coupled with it,the expressions and emotions manifested were clear and vibrant , which had an irreversible impact on society.


Among the most relevant types of sculptures in this type of artistic manifestation are the following:

  • Exempt Roman sculpture.
  • Roman funerary sculpture.
  • Roman sculpture honors.
  • Imperial late Roman sculpture.

Characteristics of Roman sculpture

Roman sculpture was peculiar from the moment it originated, making it very easy to distinguish it from other sculptures, however, however, some characteristics that discriminate against this type of art manifestation were not pointed out. express some of these:

  • It originated by taking root in the traditions and customs of what was Greek sculpture .
  • He progressively changed his theme of origin, which is why he began to highlight what was the narration of events, the description of them and rarely the surrender of honors to those who were generals, captains who fought to rid their land of origin.
  • It reached its peak thanks to its innovative branch , which was the portrait , which was usually made of stone or bronze.
  • This manifestation of art is based on what is naturalism , for which there is no evidence of any fanciful or imaginative exaggeration .
  • In general, most of the authors of these works of art were hidden under the faces and figures of their sculptures, that is, they were anonymous creations .
  • Many of these were used, as in Greek sculpture for what they were commemorations and cults , however, the sculpture took a much higher leap in Rome at the time when it began to be confused with what architecture was.


Although at the beginning it was a poorly named artistic manifestation , many ramifications and many ways of expressing it emerged from it , for which reason it was divided into various techniques, molding itself to the possibilities of the artist or sculptor; Thus giving flexibility to creators . These techniques are the following:

  • The portrait: This type of art with which Roman sculpture reached its peak, is divided into three parts:
  • The togato portrait: In which the man or the woman was represented in a religious way , dressed in a toga and with a mantle on the head , as a symbol of spirituality.
  • The portrait thoracats: In which the men of war were mostly represented in a military uniform , surrounded and dressed in a shell or armor that protected them from any injury on the battlefield.
  • The apotheosis portrait: In which men and women were manifested and represented as a divinity , taking the sculpture far beyond the religious, becoming lewd and rogue , since the body is represented as it came to the world, with crowns of laurel and highly striking attributes.
  • Statues: These were the first representations that sculpture had in Rome, most of these were based on the authority figure of the region , being a way to pay tribute to it.
  • Sarcophagi: This was created to represent what the struggles and battles fought in Rome were for the time, expressing much more than emotions and highlighting relevant events in the culture .
  • Triumphal arches: Although these are in an almost imperceptible center, they began as sculptures , which were progressively exaggerated to the point of becoming architecture , however, that suspicion has always been among sculptors and architects thanks to this controversy.


The materials commonly used in Roman sculpture are as follows:

  • The bronze.
  • The stone.
  • Concrete.
  • And rarely, in its beginnings, oak wood.

Themes of Roman sculpture

These cultures were based above all on divinities and realities , although they were opposite poles, what this sought was to mix the description and narration of events with the sculpture and native traditions of Rome, which worked effectively for them.


The importance of this artistic manifestation lies in the relevance it has for the inhabitants of Rome, in addition to this, the amount of historical and cultural content it expresses is what makes it special and unforgettable for many.


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