The Colosseum

Topics: Roman Empire, Colosseum, Rome Pages: 2 (574 words) Published: September 1, 2013
The Colosseum
Emperor Vespasian

Basic information:

Period it was completed: AD 70-80
Dimension: The elliptical building is immense, measuring 188m by 156m and reaching a height of more than 48 meters (159 ft). Medium used: Space art— Three dimensional art
Present location: Rome, Italy

Analysis:

The Flavian Amphitheater, known popularly as the Colosseum, incorporated many classical design elements. It included all the common Greek orders. The columns on the first story were Doric, with Ionic columns on the second story and Corinthian on the third. This progression followed pre-established conventions and emphasized the building's height. There was also a fourth level, which had Corinthian designs imposed on the pilasters. This was reminiscent of the temple of Apollo at Didyma.

There were also specifically Roman elements found in the Colosseum. The ubiquitous use of the arch and vaulted space allowed for a structural elegance not typically found in Greek architecture. As a previous poster said, the spaces underneath arches were filled with statuary. Although concrete was the primary building material, it was covered with a veneer of marble.

Buildings in ancient Rome and Greece were typically painted, and not the gleaming white marble structures we think of them as. I'm not aware of the exact patterns that were used for the Colosseum, but I am sure that at least architectural details, such as trim, would have been painted. Numerous walls probably would have also been painted. The styles of Roman wall painting are well documented elsewhere, so I won't get into that.

I'm not aware of any mosaics from the Colosseum, but they may have existed. The Colosseum was very expensive, but its primary purpose wasn't to look pretty. Aside from the embellishments I've covered, I don't think there was much to it. Some other Roman buildings were truly ostentatious, but the Colosseum relied heavily on its sheer size to impress.

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