The role of propaganda of Late-Ancient Imperial sculpture in Romania Cover Image

Rolul propagandistic al sculpturii imperiale antic-târzii în România
The role of propaganda of Late-Ancient Imperial sculpture in Romania

Author(s): Ioana-Iulia Olaru
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Editura Lumen, Asociatia Lumen
Keywords: statuary; Late Antiquity; propaganda; portrait; trepan

Summary/Abstract: The purpose of a paper about Late Antiquity on the territory of Romania is didactic, introducing a chapter which is absent from all types of presentations of the History of Romanian Art. This material is part of a more complex project, of re-updating the History of Romanian Art, a comprehensive study which is highly necessary for the time being. It is a study having a scientific purpose, but also a methodical-didactic one, the accent falling on the role of art as a political and religious tool serving power. The present fragment which refers not only to the field of ronde bosse sculpture, but also to imperial sculpture (compared to that which was for cult or funerary), is a personal contribution (which is also based on research work), bringing forward values of the tridimensional sculpture found on the territory of Romania from the time of Late Antiquity, from the perspective of the two poles: political imperial propaganda and religious propaganda, of developing Christianity. The objective of these works – most of them being sculpted heads of the Roman emperors, but also an imperial statue – was that of making known the faces of all the rulers from Rome and also of the imperial ideal. Even if we refer to a provincial art, with features which are strongly connected to the ”albums” of models from the workshops of the great artistic centres, their sculptures being the direct expression of the official art, faces being specific enough to suppose that they are portraits. Stylistically speaking, technical innovations and experiments are reflected on our territory by the Roman statuary of Late Antiquity: the usage of the trepan that brings life to sculptures by the artistic effects of the play of lights and shadows, the marking of the iris and of the eyeball. Therefore, in both provinces of our territory (Dacia Traiana and Scythia Minor), the cult of the emperor – the official religion of the Roman Empire – was propagandistically supported by the statues that embelished temples, basilicas or public places. In order to support the demonstration, I made comparisons between the sculpted portraits which were found on the territory of our country and those found in the other parts of the Empire, based on them, the Romanian researchers could propose identifications. The photographs from my personal archive make the comprehension of the stylistic analysis that will accompany these presentations much easier.

  • Issue Year: II/2013
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 475-492
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Romanian