The Greeks were known for their desire of perfection. Their architecture consisted of perfect lines and symmetry, their columns were doric and ionic while the Romans built ornate corinthian columns. The Greek architects used marble and other stones to build beautiful structures like the Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, in honor of the Gods. Much like the rest of their art, Greek architecture was heavily influenced by their beliefs. These grand structures were rarely painted and were designed in a way that was intended to be viewed from the outside. Meanwhile the Romans developed architecture that would honor the Empire more than Gods and they also developed public buildings such as baths. The Romans are known for some incredible turning points in architecture such as the use of concrete and creating the arch. The invention of the arch allowed ancient Romans to achieve such feats such as bringing water into a town or bathhouse using aqueducts. The Romans are also known for creating the Coliseum which according to The Annotated Mona Lisa, seated 50,000 people and could even be flooded to reenact naval battles. Although Roman architecture took influence from Greek architecture and then made it more “for the people” the Romans still had their share of imitations such as the Pantheon (Greek for all Gods, the Pantheon was built to honor all the Gods) which is similar to the Greek Parthenon, but with the addition of an ornate dome that can be seen from the inside. PAINTING
Although it was recorded that the Greeks were skilled painters who “achieved a breakthrough in realistic trompe l’oeil effects”(McMeel 12) , the only works we have to judge them by are the vase paintings since none of their murals or other painting survived. These vase painting depict stories ranging from warfare to drinking parties and were made by an artist scratching into red or black clay. Since the subject of Greek art is usually the Gods, these vases were also made to tell stories of Greek mythology featuring heroes and Gods. These paintings differed from the Roman wall paintings that were depictions of leaders and various important members of the Empire. Roman paintings were similar to Greeks in that they both mastered realistic paintings, although they had two different subject matters.
In their sculpture, the Greeks sought to portray the two poles of human behavior, passion and reason. They sought to achieve perfection in the human form, both physical and intellectual. The Greek sculptures were the first to use nudity as an art form and their statues were made contrapposto, both of these characteristics along with perfect proportions, helped capture the human form in a way that made it look in motion. At first the Romans copied Greek sculpture, depicted their own Gods who were copied version of the Greek’s gods. The Romans also continued to create God-like busts of Empire figures to place in public buildings throughout their Empire in Europe. Later the Romans would take the Greek influence and make it their own by depicting political leaders and others they deemed important in their sculptures, including the use of wax death masks they preserved of their ancestors, so the sculpture was a more than realistic mold of that person’s face.
The Greek and Roman Empires will always be considered influential in modern day art and culture. The Greeks created incredible statues and insisted on perfection while the Romans sought inspiration (or copied everything) from the Greeks, the put their own twist on it and added their ingenuity such as with the creation of bathhouses and aqueducts. Although the Romans were great engineers and mastered and/or improved many Greek creations or art forms, without the original inspiration from the Greeks, they may have not been so influential.