As any art student knows, Roman art has long been considered a pinnacle of Western achievement. From statues to paintings to carvings and even fashion, Roman art from the ancient age to the modern inspires artists the world over and is taught as a textbook standard. Take on some Roman art inspiration to make a more intimate study of the forms and styles, all while creating your own personalised piece of Roman-style art.
The shapes of Roman vases are similar to many modern ceramic vases, including those you can purchase inexpensively at thrift or department stores. Use such vases as the medium for creating stylised, Romanesque vase paintings. Start by giving the vase a foundation coat of white or black spray paint to cover any existing paint job. Sketch the design for the vase on the white coat using a grease pencil to get it just right, mimicking the "storyboard" styles of old vases featuring scenes from daily Roman life. Paint the images in a contrasting colour to the base coat.
Bust sculpting is a staple technique among clay figure sculptures. If you've already spent time studying or mastering bust sculpting, challenge yourself to create busts in the Roman style. Though generally realistic in form, Roman busts favoured certain idealised physical features as well as a variety of facial expressions and head posture poses. Study surviving Roman bust and stature artwork to look to these common shapes and visual traditions and you will gain inspiration for your project.
Create your own Roman style coin using metal clay; this is a craft product that starts as air dry clay, but turns into real metal when fired with a creme brulee torch. To give the coin the proper moulded look, create a mould using air-dry clay and a printed, life-size photo of a Roman coin. Flip the coin in an image editor before printing, then lay the printing on a flattened piece of air-dry clay. Trace the image through the paper using the head of a needle to make a reverse impression of the image in clay. Let the clay dry, then use to mould the coin in silver clay.
Many Roman jewellery styles, ancient and modern, incorporate designs and structures that you can reproduce using modern jewellery-making supplies and techniques. Look for real or imitation gold settings that are ornate and asymmetrical, imitating organic shapes. Favour stones with semi-opaque translucency and dark colours, or use glass with complex mixtures of colour. Create designs that incorporate these pieces using techniques like wire wraps, rosary looping and chandelier hanging of beads.
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