Art History mod 05

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  1. Arcade
    A row of arches.
  2. Atrium
    An area in a Roman house around which its principal rooms are organized in a square fashion.  The atrium is open to the sky and four pillars support the roof at the opening.  An impluvium, or pool, is at the center of the atrium and collects the rain water which is directed there.  The purpose of the atrium is to provide light and a kind of air conditioning to the Roman house (especially desirable during the hot Italian summers).
  3. Basilica
    A basilica is a monumental structure which was entered on its long side, had an interior colonnade, and on its two short ends had rounded areas known as an apse. The basilica in Rome was largely a civic structure to conduct business and within the apse to conduct legal courts of justice. The Basilica Ulpia is an example. Later the basilica became adopted and adapted for use as the primary form for the Christian churches (with the addition of a transept making the basilica cruciform in shape).
  4. Coffer
    A coffer is a hollowed-out area in a ceiling (flat or domed) which functions as both a visual decoration or way to "read" the curve of a dome. If done in perspective, creates the illusion that the dome's height is greater than in fact it may be; the other function is to relieve weight. The Pantheon is a good example.
  5. Colosseum
    The nickname for the Flavian amphitheater, a large freestanding structure which housed 50,000 fans of the games (hunts, gladiator battles, and executions). It was called the Colosseum because of the nearly 40-foot-tall bronze colossus of Nero which was next to the structure. Nero's pleasure palace had previously been located on this site.
  6. Encaustic
    A kind of medium. Color pigments are suspended in pots of hot wax (rather than water, tempera, or oil). The result is a pictorial quality which is remarkably fresh, immediate, and vivid, giving a realistic liveliness to the faces frequently executed for Faiyum mummy portraits when Egypt became part of the Roman empire.
  7. Etruscan
    An adjective describing the art of Etrurea, a region north of the Tiber river in Italy. They were the people whose civilization was, for the most part, in the cultural orbit of the Greeks and largely derivative. They were the precursors to the Romans (who were in fact a tribe of Etruscans). They created beautiful tombs whose themes were of the eternal feast and celebrations of the afterlife, they employed the arch in their great city gates and handed this down to the Romans; they also created beautiful, large-scale pottery funerary urns.
  8. Forum
    A complex of structures in the sacred heart of Rome (known as the Pomerium). There were individual smaller fora within the larger area generally known as the Forum. A forum could consist of colonnaded courts, exedras, include a basilica, temple, and in the case of Trajan, two libraries and a market.
  9. Hadrian
    The emperor who ruled in the second century AD and who had an abiding interest in the arts, especially architecture. He is credited with the design of the greatest structure in Rome (for its size, beauty, and proportions) -- the Pantheon. He also designed his own country villa at Tivoli. Hadrian was fond of exploring provocative forms; he gave the world the dramatically conceived interior (as seen in the Pantheon).
  10. Marble encrustation
    A technique of lining the walls, usually of an interior, with thin slabs of marble to create a sumptuous, elegant look.
  11. Oculus
    Means "eye" and is a round opening usually in a dome or apsidal. In the Pantheon, the oculus permits light and fresh air to circulate. Symbolically, at the Pantheon, it is the connection between the earth and the cosmos and was understood to represent the all-seeing eye of Jupiter.
  12. Pax Romana
    The Pax Romana or "peace of the Romans" also elaborated to the Pax Romana Augustae, or the "peace of Augustus," was the theme of Caesar Augustus' regime. He tried to restore military and civic pride to Rome after a period of weakness. This is best represented on the cuirass or breastplate of the statue Augustus of Prima Porta (13 BCE) which shows how through diplomatic efforts a peace deal was struck with the Parthians (barbarians of Romania) and how they returned an imperial war standard which the Romans had lost in battle to their own great embarrassment. Augustus stressed his political and diplomatic achievements through propaganda over his military achievements. Another example is the Ara Pacis which displays the earth goddess (Tellus) who can abundantly succeed during Augustus' time of peace.
  13. Pilaster
    A flat, engaged column or rectangular pier.
  14. Polychrome
    Simply means "many colored."   Polychromatic, as an adjective, is frequently used to describe color applied to sculpture or the many colors of materials which can comprise a structure.
  15. Roman Republican era (ca. 509 BCE – 27 BCE)
    Began with the expulsion of the last Etruscan king and ended with the rule of Caesar Augustus. It was during this era that Rome began to build an empire and the ruling elites became corrupt, ending with revolts and civil wars. The government was ruled by the Senate and, to a lesser extent, the Plebian Assembly.
  16. Roman Imperial era (ca. 27 BCE - 410 CE)
    Began with the reforms of Caesar Augustus and ended with the Sack of Rome, although historians debate the exact dates. This era was characterized by the autocracy (absolute power) of the emperors, like Vespasian, who strengthened Rome by patronizing great building projects, such as the Colosseum. On the other hand, other emperors, like Caligula and Nero, weakened Rome by abusing their power for personal gains. It was one of the greatest building booms in the West until modern times, with the emperors able to channel large sums of money to their pet projects for the glory of the Empire and their legacy.
  17. Romulus and Remus
    The legendary founders of Rome.  According to legend they were brothers who were reared by a she-wolf once they were orphaned after their father was deposed by their evil uncle. Remus was killed in the efforts of the brothers to revenge their father, while Romulus went on to triumph.  Romulus was credited with the founding of the city of Rome and was deified upon his death.
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Art History mod 05
vocabulary Art History module 5
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