The Emperors Trajan and Hadrian of Rome
Emperor Trajan came to power after the great Julius Caesar and Augustus. Trajan is always remembered for his contribution to the Roman architecture, especially when he constructed the greatest monument of his own and made Rome to become a city of beautified buildings (William 5). He also erected other monuments of the Roman forums, which occupied the centre of the city. He succeeded in constructing the splendid temples of Jupiter and Juno that were erected upon the Capitoline hill (William 2).
Emperor Hadrian who succeeded Trajan also had a passion in architecture. He constructed many magnificent public works and was considered to be superior to Trajan (William 3). He succeeded in constructing a splendid mausoleum, decorated the temples of Venus and Rome and also designed a very strong fortification primarily for protecting the frontier.
Hadrian is considered to be superior to Trajan due to his new spirits that basically inspired peoples who he freed from tax gatherers. People were able to save and build more structures and beautify the city (William 4).
Discuss the influence of both the Greek and Etruscans architecture on Roman temple design
The ancient roman temple designs had similar characteristics of being raised up on a polonium structured with formal front staircase. The Greeks and the Etruscans also together played an important role in implementing such designs which the Romans adopted from them.
In a specific example, the Romans fused both Greek and Etruscans designs in the malison Cree, the best Roman temple which is still preserved in France up to date. The temple was constructed on a raised Polodium in Etruscans manner. Moreover, the sides of the temple were fitted with continuous free standing columns. At the sides, there were porches attached on to the Cella walls just like what the Greeks do (William 3).
Comparison between the Basilica of old st. Peter’s with the reconstruction of the Basilica Nova. What similarities and differences do you see in the plans, elevation and building materials used? What is the spiritual purpose reflected in the building?
The old St. Peters basilica, which is also known as the constantinian church was designed and built to serve two distinct functions. Covering a cemetery and also as a martyrium. The main focus of the entire building is the tomb of Saint Peters, which is located at the apse.
The architect designed a transept that serves as an audience hall and Ciborium/Baldachin that forma a canopy structure supported by columns erected over the st. Peters shrine. Finally, there is the triumphal arch that is built to separate the transept. This building is always considered to be important for Christians because the transept was built as a martyrium that paved way for pilgrims to be able to access the tomb of st. Peters.
Similarly, both basilica buildings had the three vaults of the aisle, devoid of all decorations. In fact, there were great imperial bath constructed in both basilicas. The major difference between these two buildings is that, for the reconstructed Nova basilica, there was an added entrance door on the sides called via sacra. Moreover, there was additional stairway that led towards a special porch containing four porphyry columns (William 5).
Furthermore, the rooms could be closed by wooden doors. It is due to reconstructions that was carried out that the plan was changed from the unfinished Basilica. The building was fitted with typical arches making it more beautiful than before. There were two large windows that were build in a row, which were meant to ushered in light. The roof was covered completely with bronze tiles whereas its walls were fortified in opus latericium.
Compare the painting of the synagogues of Dura Europos with the Roman Dionysiac frieze from Boscoreale. What similarities can you see in the Christian images to both paintings?
The Dura Europa paintings of the13th Century have an important biblical image portrayed, which represents some of the earliest continuous narratives recorded biblically (Joseph 4). This Dura synagogue paintings are also recognized to be the most oldest such that many people doubt whether they have any relationship with the biblical scenes recorded in the Christians art (Joseph 4).
In comparison, Upon the Dura synagogue, there is a painting of a woman standing in the water while holding a small child (Joseph 2). Christians have interpreted this scene to be similar to the narrative of the Egyptian princess rescuing little Moses from river Nile. This has also been justified to be similar to another Roman (Roman Dionysiac) painting in the 14th century (Joseph 9).
Though the interpretation is slightly different, but the image is very similar. This is because, for the Roman wall painting, it is interpreted to be of a princess who was suffering from leprosy and was miraculously healed after touching that very basket containing baby Moses (Joseph 8).
The other biblical narrative presented in both Dura and Roman synagogue painting similarly, is the story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac (Joseph 3). The painting showed Isaac lying on the alter with Abraham next to him holding a knife. The ram was shown to be stuck next in a thicket nearby (Joseph 1).
The development of Pictorial form from Roman illusion to Byzantine pattern
During the Roman Esque era, the architectures were composed of combined features borrowed from both the Roman and Byzantine structures. The visual characteristic exhibited included; round arched heavy built churches that were very large by developing longer nave and transept so that it can accommodate large crowds of people.
It was during this era, when the development of furnishing and sculpturing art were being introduced in most churches. The church of La Madeleine at Vezelay, represented the pictorial painting of Jesus and his apostles, a story found in acts 1: 4-9.
In this chapter, Jesus was commissioning his apostles that after his departure to heaven, they should wait until they receive the power of the Holy Ghost. In the painting, there is a ray of light that extend from Jesus hand, which indicated the Holy Ghost. In the ancient Roman times, there were only stones sculptures that were popularly used in carving such information.
However, this proceeded until there was desire to present clear messages not on walls or stones, but on illuminated manuscripts. It is in such illuminated manuscripts; where artists could confidently display in the best way the natural illusion and also be able to arrange the figures in an ornamental fashion. Such portraits never existed throughout the Romanesque and also the following Golith periods (Robert 1).
This development from stones carving, to wall painting and finally the illuminated manuscripts are special progress from the Roman style to Byzantine pattern (Robert 4).
Most of this illustrations and symbols used in these early churches were meant to always remind Christians that they should always prepare their souls for the second coming of Jesus Christ. For example, the symbol of an eagle presented saint. John while the dove was a pictorial illustration of the Holy Ghost.
The Apse mosaic of San vitale
The Basilica of San Vitale is located within an open space and is also positioned between buildings surrounding it. There is a mausoleum that contains the beautiful mosaics of the Lamb of God and also of a dove drinking from a fountain (Robert 2). Presence of the mosaic of Old Testament precisely the sacrifice offering is represented in mosaics just like what is in the scriptures.
Moreover, there is also the mosaic picture of the three angles or messengers God sent to Abraham at the oak of Mamre (Robert 1). Furthermore, the figure of Jesus Christ is erected in the apse just behind the alters. This are some of the iconography containing the obvious biblical narratives all displayed right in the apse of San Vitale (Robert 4).
In summary, it is clearly evident that San Vitale embodies the Brazantine idea via a number of iconographic mosaic pictures demonstrated. In conclusion, all discussed mosaics found within and also around the San Vitale generally help in developing a very rich expression, precisely of such ecclesiological themes recorded biblically in the Old Testament (Robert 3).
Such iconic views provides a text that can be seen and be visually interpreted by worshippers who will finally have an understanding of what is happening via the portrait evidences exposed (Robert 2).
Joseph, Guttmann. “The Dura Europos Synagogue paintings and their influence on later Christians and Jewish art.” jstor.org. jstor.org, 2011. Web. 12 December 2011.
Robert, Wright. “Iconographic significance of the Apse Mosaic of San Vitale, Ravenna.” ivpress.com. ivpress.com, 2007. Web. 12 December 2011.
William, Morey. “Outline of Roman history.” forumromanum.org. forumromanum.org, 1901. Web. 12 December 2011.