Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Roman Art

Why did the Romans copy Greek sculpture?

Much like today, a large art collection was an indication of wealth and status in ancient Rome. Greek art was held in high regard by the ever-expanding Romans who set about conquering the Mediterranean and coming home with art and treasure from across the land. Roman artists copied many marble and bronze statues in order to meet popular demand, usually working in marble. Not all Roman sculptures were exact copies, however. Roman sculptors adapted Greek sculpture and updated it to match the tastes of the Roman art-buying public. All in all, we are lucky the Romans did so much copying; many original Greek bronzes were long ago melted down (to make things such as weapons and armor) and therefore much of our knowledge of Greek art comes from Roman copies.


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