The first piece of art that I chose for this paper is the still standing Roman Coliseum. This magnificent piece of art has withstood many different storms, political and otherwise, and is still standing to this day. The Romans thought that a circular area like this would be able to hold the entire city of Rome, Italy! The Coliseum is considered by many to be the most significant piece of imperial architecture and Roman engineering. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built and is situated in the center of the city of Rome. Its design is believed to be representative of two Roman theatres positioned back to back thereby creating an elliptical plan. The surviving exterior wall facade is made of three stories of arcades, in which sits a podium and attic. Both the podium and attic contain windows that are dispersed at even intervals. The arcades are embellished with half size columns representative of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders while the arches within the arcades featured statues of classical mythological deities.
In fact, the Roman Coliseum held up to 84,000 spectators at one time. However, that number was with mathematical data available to the Romans at the time. Modern statistical data shows that the number is more in the neighborhood of 50,000. It is still a very impressive structure. Needless to say, the Coliseum was an engineering marvel of its time. It is believed that the hypogeum, or basement of the structure, was equipped with a variety of mechanical pulleys, elevators, and hydraulic systems used to hoist cages and props for surface release.
The Temple of Zeus at Olympia was an ancient Greek temple in Olympia, Greece, dedicated
to the chief of the gods, Zeus. It was the very model of the fully-developed classical Greek
temple of the Doric order. The temple, built between 472 and 456 BC, stood in the most famous
sanctuary of Greece, which had been dedicated to local and Pan-Hellenic deities and had
probably been established towards the end of the Mycenaean period. The Altis, the enclosure
with its sacred grove, open-air altars and the tumulus of Pelops, was first formed during the tenth
and ninth centuries BCE, when the cult of Zeus was joined the already establish cult here of
Hera. The statue of Zeus stood in this temple and was once one of the Seven Wonders of the
World. The temple was constructed by the architect Libon, with
carved metopes and triglyph friezes, topped by pediments filled with sculptures in the Severe
Style, now attributed to the Olympia Master and his studio.
The main structure of the building was of a local limestone that was unattractive and of poor
quality, and so it was coated with a thin layer of stucco to give it an appearance of marble. All
the sculptural decoration on the temple was made of Parian marble, and the roof tiles were of the
same Pentelic marble used to build the Parthenon at Athens.
These two pieces of classical art have a special significance to me. I have always been
interested in these time period because of learning about them in high school. That in itself made
me think about their significance and meaning to the people of that time period. In ancient
Greece, the people believed in more than one deity, hence the different gods and statues of each.
In ancient Rome, their beliefs were that there was only one deity and that one deity was supreme
and that there were no other deities. The Romans persecuted those who believed in the Pagan,
which means the Greek gods and other cultural deities, belief system and their punishment would
most likely end in death. The Greeks and Romans did share one aspect in their respective
cultures. They were both a society of very proud, and often egotistical, people. Both societies
had their own different types of government. Each ruled their respective society in ways that
people of today could only imagine. However, being ruled by an aristocracy that didn??™t care
whether their people lived or died lead to a lot of revolutions in the government structure of each
Colosseum. (2009, May 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on March 5,
2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.phptitle=Colosseum&oldid =290339305
Temple of Zeus
Temple of Zeus (2011, March 1) In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on March 5,
2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Zeus