A. Different views of a type of sculpture popular in ancient Roman times
B. Evidence that Romans had outstanding artistic ability
C. The differences between Greek sculpture and Roman sculpture
D. The relationship between art and politics in ancient Roman times
NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in an art history class.
MALE PROFESSOR:Today, we'll continue our examination of ancient Roman sculpture.We've already looked at portrait sculpture which are busts created to commemorate people who had died and we've looked at relief sculpture, or sculpting on walls.And today we look at yet another category of sculpture–copies.Roman sculptors often made copies of famous Greek sculptures.
FEMALE STUDENT:Why did they do that?
MALE PROFESSOR:Well, no one knows for sure.You see, in the late fourth century B.C., the Romans began a campaign to expand the Roman Empire... and in 300 years they had conquered most of the Mediterranean area and parts of Europe.You know the saying, "To the victor belong the spoils?"Well, the Roman army returned to Rome with many works of Greek art.It's probably fair to say that the Romans were impressed by Greek art and culture– and they began making copies of the Greek statues.Now, the dominant view in traditional art history is that Roman artists lacked creativity and skill, especially compared to the Greek artists who came before them.Essentially, the traditional view a view that's been prevalent for over 250 years is that the Romans copied Greek sculptures because they couldn't create sculpture of their own.
But, finally, some contemporary art historians have challenged this view.One is Elaine Gazda.
Gazda says that there might be other reasons that Romans made copies.She wasn't convinced that it was because of a lack of creativity.Can anyone think of another possible reason?
MALE STUDENT:Well...maybe they just admired the sculptures, you know,they liked the way they looked.
MALE PROFESSOR:Yes! That's one of Gazda's points.Another is that while nowadays reproduction is easy, it was not so easy in Roman times.Copying statues required a lot of skill, time, and effort.So, Gazda hypothesizes that copying didn't indicate a lack of artistic imagination-or skill- on the part of Roman artists, but rather, the Romans made copies because they admired Greek sculpture.Classical Greek statues represented an idealization of the human body and were considered quite beautiful at the time.
Gazda also believes that it's been a mistake to dismiss the Roman copies as, well, copies for copies' sake, and not to consider the Roman function and meaning of the statues.
FEMALE STUDENT:What do you mean...the Roman function? Weren't they just for decoration?
MALE PROFESSOR:Well, not necessarily.Under the emperor Augustus, at the height of the Roman Empire, portrait statues were sent throughout the empire... they were supposed to communicate specific ideas about the emperor and the imperial family, and to help inhabitants of the conquered areas become familiar with the Roman way of life.You know, Roman coins were also distributed throughout the empire.Anybody care to guess what was on them?
MALE STUDENT:The emperor's face?
MALE PROFESSOR:That's right.The coins were easy to distribute, and they allowed people to see the emperor, or at least his likeness, and served as an additional reminder to let them know, well, who was in charge.And the images helped people become familiar with the emperor statues of him in different roles were sent all over the empire.Now, actually some Roman sculptures were original, but others were exact copies of Greek statues.And some Roman sculptures were combinations of some sort; some combined more than one Greek statue, and others combined a Greek god or an athlete with a Roman's head.At the time of Julius Caesar, it wasn't uncommon to create statues that had the body of a god and the head of an emperor.
And the Romans were clever... what they did was, they made plaster casts from molds of the sculptures. Then, they shipped these plaster casts to workshops all over the empire, where they were replicated in marble or bronze.And on some statues the heads were removable they could put an emperor's head on different bodies showing him doing different things.And then later, when the time came, they could even use the head of the next emperor on the same body!
教授：嗯，我们其实也不是特别清楚。在公元 4 世纪晚期，罗马人发动了一场战役，试图扩大罗马帝国的版图。之后的 300 年里，他们征服了地中海的大部分国家和欧洲的一部分。想必大家都知道这个谚语“战利品为征服者所有”。嗯，当罗马军队回到了本土，他们手里就有很多希腊艺术品了。当然，罗马人被希腊艺术品和希腊文化震撼了，所以之后他们就开始复制古希腊艺术品了。在传世艺术学界，现在有一种主流观点是，和他们之前的希腊艺术家相比，罗马艺术家缺乏创造力和技巧。大体上说，罗马人因不自创雕塑而复制希腊艺术品，这一说法流行了250 年。