Conditions of Use
The text covers all major areas of Ancient Roman Art. Most of the pictures I have seen before and it would have been beneficial to have shown different works of art. The conversations that were scattered throughout the text added a different... read more
The text covers all major areas of Ancient Roman Art. Most of the pictures I have seen before and it would have been beneficial to have shown different works of art. The conversations that were scattered throughout the text added a different perspective, even though they sounded rehearsed or read from a script. Unfortunately, there was no glossary or index at the end of the text and that was a great loss for readers who would want to go back to certain sections or to understand certain words. There was a map of the roman Empire at the beginning, but with no explanation of why it was placed there.
The content of the text seemed to be accurate and unbiased. It was difficult to determine the topics and then the context to the topics because the fonts were the same. The headings/topics should have been in a different font.
The score would have been 3.5, but there was no place to indicate that. The content could be easily updated and should be especially the photos (as mentioned before there were a lot of the photos that I have seen before in other art books). New art with new information should be conducted at least every five years. Having other references at the end of each section was beneficial for the reader to do more research on their own if needed be.
The text is written in a fluid manner. Even if a reader was not educated in art, the language was simple enough to understand. Any historical terms were italicized and defined for the reader.
The score would have been 3.5, but there was no place to indicate that. The text is written in chronological order with additional resources provided at the end of each subject. The authors chose specific subject matters to discuss such as Roman domestic architecture, funeral rituals, wall paintings, and temples. The text explains how important and influential each one was in the lives of the Romans. Each section was delved into with their influence of Roman Art.
The text could be easily divided into smaller sections. An instructor could assign specific areas to read or to do research on. Sometimes the conversations seemed a bit too much and it would have been simpler to just write about the subject.
The organization of the text is good. However, the flow was interrupted by blank pages, leaving the reader to question why was this done. Was it done on purpose? Were readers meant to write notes down on those blank pages? This, of course, could not be done with online text books. It would have been interesting to see a chapter or two on the Ancient Roman Art in jewelry.
The text had very good images. As mentioned before, it would have been beneficial for the reader to see different photos/images because a lot of them have been seen before. Having information either underneath or beside the image was helpful.
The text does not contain obvious grammatical errors. It is noted that the spacing between words is sometimes off. Usually there is one space between a word, however, on occasion there will be two spaces between words and this looks odd in some of the paragraphs. Some of the examples of this can be found on the following pages: page 46-where the paragraph is talking about Fiorelli, page 62-where the paragraph is talking about the total cost for Caesar to acquire land, and page 288-where Steven is making some comments. This is throughout the text. On occasion there would be misspellings of words such as the spelling of "landacquisition" on page 46 is incorrect. It should be "land acquisition" as in two words.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive. It focuses on only one subject matter and that is "Ancient Roman Art." This book will interest history or art enthusiasts who could come from any race or ethnicity or background. The text focuses on Ancient Roman Art, so if a person is looking for information about art from other cultures such as Greek, Indian, or African, it will not be found here. The diversity of Ancient Roman Art should have been delved in further and this could have been accomplished with more up to date research.
This is an excellent reference book to use in a classroom. An instructor could also assign specific sections from this book to do research. It should not be the only book used for information about Ancient Roman Art.
This book ranges widely in time from the art of Republican to Constantinian Rome. Various social classes, genres, and materials are represented as well. However, the coverage feels a bit piecemeal and the "conversations" read like transcripts from... read more
This book ranges widely in time from the art of Republican to Constantinian Rome. Various social classes, genres, and materials are represented as well. However, the coverage feels a bit piecemeal and the "conversations" read like transcripts from Khan Academy videos rather than a traditional textbook. Embedding video links is an interesting touch, but I wonder if students would simply skip the written "conversation" and click directly on the video link (e.g. p. 20). There is also a disturbing lack of historical context (the damnatio article is a refreshing exception to this) which would need to be remedied by pairing this guide with a "Western Civilization" or "Global History" textbook. I could see myself assigning chapters or sections of this guide in various courses: "Roman domestic architecture" and "The Insula" and "The Villa," for example in a course on Roman literature. The essays on funerary monuments, hospitality paintings and the House of the Vettii would team nicely with the Satyricon. The hyperlinks to resources at the end of each section are a welcome resource.
The book appears relatively accurate and unbiased. The inclusion of references to surrounding cultures and the influence of their artistic and cultural practices on Rome is most welcome. In several chapters, the discrepancy between fonts for the main text and section headings and/or headers was jarring and the spacing between italicized words and non-italicized words was compromised (e.g. p. 51). The same held true for the formatting for Additional Resources (e.g. pp. 54-55, 208), which varied widely by chapter. On p. 60, the diagram of the villa is both blurry and in Italian.
As Roman and Greek art and literature have become a battleground (through their appropriation by other political or special interest groups), this text may need to be updated to reflect this in the near future.
For an art history book, the text takes care to keep jargon to the absolute minimum, and is written in a lively, conversational fashion.
Consistency between tone, diction, and format between chapters is somewhat lacking. I suspect most will use this text to dip into rather than assigning it as a comprehensive textbook.
This textbook is almost too modular for its own good, as some individual chapters feel like Khan Academy conversation transcripts, while others read like textbook chapters. It begs to be rearranged and modified for particular courses.
The book feels a bit like a string of cameo appearances or greatest hits. It would have been nice to see some domestic artwork (apart from wall-paintings) such as jewelry, glasswork, pottery, etc. The section on the later Roman empire breaks off rather abruptly with Constantine. There was no coverage that I could see of Christian Roman artwork, or artwork from fusion cultures such as Faiyum, Palmyra, etc.
The interface was quite good apart from the formatting inconsistencies noted above.
The prose was clean, coherent, and relatively error-free.
The text focuses on Roman art, and I was slightly disappointed to see the lack of representation of Roman art featuring individuals from around the empire (even the representation of women was proportionally scanty, apart from pp. 173-77 and pp. 223-5 and some of the funerary monuments, wall-paintings, and Ara Pacis). The Arch of Titus was covered, but little historical background on the impact of the destruction of Jerusalem on Jewish culture was provided (some occurred in the following "conversation", see pp.167-71). In general, this text could use a bit more of a multiculturalist and gender-nuanced approach. It was good, at least, to see the treatment of "barbarians" in art with the chapters on Trajan's column.
I would use sections of this guide for courses, but it would need to be heavily supplemented.
The text covers quite a lot considering the parameters of ancient Roman art. There are chapter headings but no index or glossary. read more
The text covers quite a lot considering the parameters of ancient Roman art. There are chapter headings but no index or glossary.
The books seems well edited. The tone is engaging and neutral. The text often asks questions rather than give one answer.
The book relates Ancient Rome to modern day but not specifically enough to appear dated. New research from 2006 is cited so that may eventually seem dated.
Art historical terms are italicized and defined in the text which should help students find words more easily. The spacing seems a bit off after the term.
The text is chronologically arranged and then by media with additional essays in each section delving into further into specific topics.
One could divide the information chronologically or by media. Each essay is short enough to be separated from the whole if a professor wanted to assign just a portion of the material.
The text is easy to follow. There is some repetition on key monuments which is better than trying to cover more Roman art pieces.
Images are excellent and up to date and include several photographs of people next to works to give scale.
There are a couple grammar issues with a non native speaker specialist who is being interviewed.
The authors make strides to connect ancient world to the present, discussing topics from modern conservation to cultural heritage protection. Inclusivity needs further investigation though the authors mention slavery. There is also an essay on a former slave's tomb which discusses the work as a style anomaly but it needs more historical context. Although Ancient Rome was diverse, the art often leaves this out. It is beneficial to address this more.
I am a big fan of Smarthistory so this collection of resources in one text is a fabulous addition to the fabulous online videos and essays.
Table of Contents
- Part I. An introduction to the art of Ancient Rome
- Part II. Ancient Roman Wall Painting
- Part III. Ancient Roman Republic
- Part IV. Ancient Rome: Early Empire
- Part V. Ancient Rome: Middle Empire
- Part VI. Ancient Rome: Late Empire
About the Book
This book contains all of Smarthistory’s content for the Ancient Roman art.
About the Contributors
Ruth Ezra is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University, where she specializes in the art of late-medieval and Renaissance Europe. Upon completion of her BA at Williams College, she studied in the UK on a Marshall Scholarship, earning an MPhil in history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge and an MA in history of art from the Courtauld Institute. A committed educator, Ruth has recently served as a Gallery Lecturer at both the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the National Galleries of Scotland, as well as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard.
Beth Harris is co-founder and executive director of Smarthistory. Previously, she was dean of art and history at Khan Academy and director of digital learning at The Museum of Modern Art, where she started MoMA Courses Online and co-produced educational videos, websites and apps. Before joining MoMA, Beth was Associate Professor of art history and director of distance learning at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she taught both online and in the classroom. She has co-authored, with Dr. Steven Zucker, numerous articles on the future of education and the future of museums, topics she regularly addresses at conferences around the world. She received her Master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and her doctorate in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Steven Zucker is co-founder and executive director of Smarthistory. Previously, Steven was dean of art and history at Khan Academy. He was also chair of history of art and design at Pratt Institute where he strengthened enrollment and lead the renewal of curriculum across the Institute. Before that, he was dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY and chair of their art history department. He has taught at The School of Visual Arts, Hunter College, and at The Museum of Modern Art. Dr. Zucker is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has co-authored, with Dr. Beth Harris, numerous articles on the future of education and the future of museums, topics he regularly addresses at conferences around the world. Dr. Zucker received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.