: Comparing and contrasting Roman and Egyptian sculptures Essay

Submitted By VIKPOK
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The Egyptians and the Romans produced sculptures that testify to the beliefs of their own societies. Both King Sahure and a nome god, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5, reign of Sahure, ca. 2458–2446 b.c., and Augustus’s of Primaporta, Early Empire Roman, c.20BCE, are sculptures of men depicted in full size. Their gazes are directed straight to the audience which suggests their political and religious power. In both cases the authority of the leaders is reinforced by accompanying figures on their right hand side. Even though both are male statues and convey political and religious power Suhure’s sculpture was created to provide an eternal abode for his ka after death, while Augustus’s sculpture was used as a form of propaganda so that the viewer would see the important role he played in securing the Roman Empire.
Augustus of Primaporta is a full sized marble statue of Caesar Augustus. Augustus is shown with his right arm raised in the pose of a speechmaker. His gaze is directed straight at the audience as he is addressing his troops or citizens of Rome. Augustus in a relaxed stance, one leg weight-bearing, the other bent, the torso slightly turned so he appears relaxed and mobile. On the contrary, in the statue of King Sahure and a nome god the pose of a king is controlled, dignified, and permanent. Sahure appears to have grown directly out of the block of stone on which he sits. He is depicted as a heavy set figure with large head and round plump face. His eyes gaze straight ahead without any emotion or suggestion of movement. The pharaoh’s arms are glued to his sides with his hands on the knees and legs close together with feet parallel. He is seated on a cubic block which represents a throne. Unlike Augustus of Primaporta, there are no spaces anywhere in the statue, suggesting a certain level of independence. The king is seated on the throne with his right arm clenched in a fist as a reminder of his power. His pose is rigid and controlled. This work is not only an image of power, but an image of an individual who is perfectly comfortable with his entitlement after his death. The Augustus of Primaporta statue was influenced by Polyclitus’ statue Doryphorus , predominantly in the similar contrapposto stance, which is clearly identical in the two works. By using this particular technique to create the Augustus of Primaporta statue Augustus connects himself to the Golden Age of Greek civilization which represents the age of prosperity and achievements. With this visual message he is trying to achieve admiration and respect from his subjects. The fact that he is portrayed as both young and healthy accentuates his victory over flaws and weaknesses of mankind. The statue is an ideal representation of the Roman Emperor who can lead armies to victory.
Romans considered the bronze sculpture to be more valuable than marble and this is why the original statue of Augustus of Primaporta was made from bronze. From the original statue numerous copies were made and sent to different regions of Empire. But copies were made with the usage of marble which is less expensive and easy to attain. Marble is a very different medium than bronze. Marble gives the beauty and realistic detail to the sculpture. Greek artists’ attention was in details and in easy accessibility of the work materials. Furthermore, Roman sculpture clearly delivers the message- Augustus of Primaporta was designed as propaganda to his status as an army leader and Emperor of the Rome. On the other hand, Egyptian sculptors concentrated on timelessness and permanence. When Egyptian sculptors were ordered to make a sculpture for nobility or royalty, they used the hardest stones to add more permanence. The material was rare and expansive because of the difficulty to get from other countries or regions. In the sculpture, King Sahure and a nome god, the sculptor uses gneiss stone. This rare stone has the ability to shine when the light falls on it. This effect brings to the king Sahure’s…