Ancient Roman Sculpture
The question of what is Roman reigns heavy in this area of the fine arts. The Romans took from the Greek in sculpture. The Romans even spent a lot of time acquiring Greek antiquities and also copying them. They would used these Greek pieces in their homes. However, sculpture Roman sculpture became very important in Rome. Roman public art served the Republic/Empire as a sophisticated visual propaganda. Roman private art sculptures of heroes and Gods would allow for Romans to get lost in fantasy while also stating their wealth and standing. As Romans did they took what they got from the Greek and adapted it to the needs of the Roman patron of the sculpture wanted or needed. They thoroughly developed the art of portraiture, and documented history on arches, columns, and sarcophagi. They created the official images of the state, and also that of the individuals of Rome. Roman sculptures are very much primary sources for their history.
Portraiture was very important to the Romans. Many believe that this practices goes back to the ritual of making wax death masks of the male head of the family when he died. They would then take the mask and put it away in a special area to be preserved. During funerals these masks would all be brought out and carried on display in the funeral procession. This was almost like a display of an ancestral worship. The Romans valued their ancestral line and this continued well into the Imperial times.
Historians believe that this ancestral worship led to the Romans having the wax molds transferred into marble sculptures. They also believe that it could have been in part to feeling that their traditional roles in society were being threatened. So in order to reinforce their ancestral line, they put more sculptures out on public display. This can be seen here where a man is holding the heads of two men who are most likely his father and grandfather.
Another interesting fact about the sculpture about is that the man standing does not have his original head. It was lost so another head was put in its place. This was a very common practice in Rome especially when it came to the emperors statues.