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Free «Prehistoric through Roman» Essay Sample


Art encompasses a wide collection of human activities, as well as the products of the same activities (Gardner & Kleiner 2012). This paper will focus on visual arts which comprise of the creation of objects and images in such fields as photography, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and visual media. Architecture is viewed as a visual art. However, it entails the creation of objects, though not exactly like those in painting, for instance. Such art as dance, cinematograph, theatre, music, literature, and interactive media are considered to be part of the broader definition of art (Gardner & Kleiner 2012). In the past, art was used to mean any mastery or skill. Additionally, it was not distinguished from science or craft. Today, it is possible to differentiate acquired skills from applied and decorative arts. 

Visual arts created in the Ancient Rome and within the Roman Empire territories are referred to as Roman art. Roman art entails mosaic work, painting, architecture and sculpture. In minor forms, luxury objects such as gem engraving, glass, metal work, and ivory carvings are considered modern Roman art (Stokstad & Cothren 2010). Romans considered sculpture and figure painting as the highest form of arts. However, these two forms have contrasting degrees of survival. The sculpture remained from around the first century ,whereas there are only few remains of painting, which are not of a high quality. 



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Art in Greece started in the Minoan and Cycladic prehistorical civilizations (Cunningham & Reich 2009). It is believed that it gave birth to the Western classical art during the Archaic, Classical, and Geometrical periods. Greek art has largely influenced the cultures of other nations across the world, especially in areas of architecture and sculpture. Roman art was derived from Greece art.

Art is characterized by communication of emotions and expressions. Since the Romantic period, art is perceived as a unique discipline of the human mind that can be classified with science and religion (Cunningham & Reich 2009). The definition of art has been disputed over time, however, the notion of human agency, as well as creation  via technical and imaginative skill is still mentioned in its definitions. This paper encompasses the components, techniques, and cultural and historical significance of art.

Components of Art

Line: a path derived from a point moving in space. A line is one dimensional and it varies in length, direction and width. It is either vertical, straight, diagonal, curved, horizontal thin or thick. A line communicates information through its direction and character.  

Shape and form: there are two dimensions of shape which are defined by lines. They are height and width. Form on the other hand exists in three forms; width, depth and height. Form is considered to be the basis of sculpture, decorative, and furniture arts.

Space: it is three dimensional and signifies a feeling of depth. Besides, it shows the use of the area by the artist. In art work, the area occupied by primary objects is referred to as positive space, whereas the surrounding of the same objects is referred to as negative space. Both the positive and negative spaces impact art work. The delusion of space is attained via shading and drawing techniques.

Color: the reflected light from objects. It has three characteristics- intensity, hue and value. On the basis of the color spectrum they fall, colors are either cool or warm. Colors are used to create mood. Light colors describe source of light whereas dark colors indicate no lighting and reveal a sense of foreboding. 

Texture: quality of the surface of the object. It is sensed through touch. Texture can be visual or physical. However, objects have a physical touch. Visually, texture can be conveyed either in two or three dimensions. In a three-dimensional art work, actual texture is used to add  quality to the work. On the other hand, in a two-dimensional artwork, the artists give a visual sense of the way an object would feel if touched.

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Techniques of Production of Art Works

There are various techniques that are used in the production of art work. One of such technique is Lino-cuts, which was introduced in the 20th century. Some of the pioneers of the technique included Claude Flight (1881 to 1955). Light pressure and light linking are among the textures that may be used as they provide a rough effect. In order to get a brushed effect and miniature ridges, rabbit glue and whitening are employed to coat the surface before it is combed through (Shiner 2003).

Wood-engraving is another technique, which involves the cutting of a hard wood across the grain using a burin. Thomas Bewick, (1753 to1828) was the initial supporter of wood engraving. Copperplate Engravings were an improvement of wood engraving. The process initiated in Italy and later moved to Germany and France. Albrecht Durer, (1471 to 1528) was the premium supporter of engraving. Some of his earliest art works correspond to Gothic work, soon after the Renaissance (Gardner & Kleiner 2012). Most of the experts are attracted to Durer works due to his creativity. In 1820, steel engraving emerged in England although it was seldom used for minute print runs thus, was not employed for art prints. Other techniques used to produce artwork include Dry Point and Line Etchings.

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Cultural and Historical Significance of Art Works

Different countries create different kinds of art work, although, the techniques and materials used are similar. This difference is influenced by varying cultural backgrounds and the fact that cultures view art differently. Also, Artists produce artworks that mirror their cultural background. It explains the argument that specific piece of art may be appealing to a certain culture and fails to appeal in others.

Studies indicate that art is significant both in the ancient and contemporary world  (Cunningham & Reich 2009). To ensure that it has sufficient expression of culture, it should make known its preservers, its creators, as well as its neighbors. Great art is shared and individuals grow to be genuinely bound as one via their world-earth society. This common art experience is a manifestation of a common environment. While explicating the real meaning of art based on the ideas of truth and being, it is true that art creates and expresses the aspect of certainty in a culture. It offers a facilitator from which art can be discovered.

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Art works are not just illustrations of the nature of things, however, they generate a society’s common understanding. Adding a novel piece of artwork to culture inherently modifies the significance of its existence. This cultural manifestation is referred to as “being-with-one-another” meaning that individuals have joint dedications within their community (Cunningham & Reich 2009). Great art is a symbol of ‘global historical importance where individuals become classified. The phenomenon of work of art and truth produces ‘a culture’ and ‘a people’. Each time art is produced, history is propelled, it either continuous or begins over once more.

In Rome, Emperors promoted different kinds of art. The majority of Roman art, which includes sculptures, paintings, printing making, painting, as well as mosaics, originated from Greek culture. Besides, these artworks were created by Greek migrants in Rome (Stokstad & Cothren 2010). The masterpieces were decorated and colored signifying the status and wealth of the subject. In Roman culture, the wealthy individuals decorates their offices and homes with fine-looking fresco paintings and sculptures. The women of ancient Roman origin loved clothes and jewelry, and all these factors helped promote Roman art.

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The relationship between art and culture indicates the significance of intellectualism in all cultures. For instance, it is evident that from the initial development of Greek art, accuracy and scrupulous were very important. The Geometric and Protogeometric eras are good illustrations. During the Progeometric era, vases were decorated with symmetrical patterns and circles. However, during the Geometric periods, zigzags, linear designs, diamonds, triangles, and meanders replaced the circle patterns (Cunningham & Reich 2009). This amplified interest can probably be referred to as a mirror of Greek attraction to nature, as well as the relationship between man and nature.

Greek artists potrayed human form in an extremely intellectual way (Shiner 2003). Early artists investigated human body and its artistic value, and created various pieces of art including the Kritios Boy. The practicality and accuracy of the sculpture revealed a precise representation of the human anatomy. This achievement revealed improvements in intellectualism in addition to depicting Greek culture and the significance of art.

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In a nutshell, art and culture go hand in hand. The art works portray the culture. It explains the reason why art differs within the cultures.

Roman and Greek Sculptures

Greece sculpture focused on how humans perceived forms. As such, they derived a way to measure body parts. Contrary, Roman sculpture focused on the realism of forms. Also, they added portraiture to their sculpture. This section discusses the Roman sculpture Dying Gaul and Greek sculptureWinged Victory of Samothrace.

The Dying Gaul

It is a marble copy of the ancient Roman Hellenistic sculpture. The sculpture was made from bronze by Attalus I of Pergamon between 230 BC and 220 BC. This art work portrays a dying Celt. It was done through painting. The statute is a representation of a Gallic warrior with Gallic mustache and hairstyle. Before the twentieth century, the statute was referred to as the Dying Gladiator. It is because Romans assumed that it represents a wounded gladiator. This sculpture has survived from the ancient times and has been continuously copied and engraved by artists. Also, it is the most celebrated Roman art work. The art work is found in the Capitoline Museum and it measures 1458 × 1186. 

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Winged Victory of Samothrace

Also, it is referred to as the Nike of Samothrace. It is a marble statue of the Greece goddess of victory that was made in the 2nd century BC. The sculpture is widely celebrated across the globe, and since 1884, it is exhibited at the Louvre. The Nike of Samothrace was created to honor both Nike and the sea battle. It expresses triumph and a sense of action, and portrays artful flowing material via its features which are considered to be ideal beauty by the Greeks. The sculpture can be found in Acropolis Museum, and it is 328 cm (129 in) high. 


As stated earlier, art comprises of human activities and the products of these activities. This paper has focused on the components, techniques, historical and cultural significance of art. It is important for the reader as he/she is able to get more information on the prehistoric art of ancient Rome and Greece. The relationship between art and culture has also been discussed, and thus, the reader is able to understand how these two aspects interrelate. Art varies from one culture to another, which can be explained by different cultural backgrounds, as many artists are influenced by their cultural upbringing. However, in most of the cases, the components and techniques used in art are similar in spite of the cultural background. 

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