How to Compare Roman and Greek Art and Architecture

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Greek and Roman art are similar, and some people may have a hard time distinguishing between them. However, there are key differences in the style of art and architecture from both civilizations. You can use these tips to compare various sculptures, buildings and other art objects.


Roman sculpture.
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According to “Gardner's Art Through the Ages,” classical Greek sculpture presented idealized human forms, focusing on balance, symmetry and the physical beauty of the subject. Roman sculpture began as a tradition of funerary portrait busts, emphasizing a brutally realistic view of the subject while incorporating the technical innovations of the Greek tradition.


Greek architecture.
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Major Greek architecture is characterized by Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, decorated pediments and an emphasis on symmetry. Though Roman architects borrowed many of these features, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art they adapted the basic building plans and were distinguished by their use of barrel and groin vaults, concrete and hemispherical domes, such as in the Pantheon.


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Greek red and black figure pottery was decorated with scenes from myth and legend, or occasionally with funerary scenes. Roman pottery, according to the British Museum, was primarily made and decorated in the terra sigillata style, though styles from other parts of the empire, such as African Red Slip Ware, eventually supplanted it.