Although much of it is nearly 2000 years old, Roman art and architecture is still the toast of Europe. In today’s Rome, visitors can explore and discover many early paintings and sculptures in museums and galleries around the city.
Art in Rome throughout the ages
In general, the term Roman art incorporates a variety of styles prevalent in the time of Ancient Rome. Mosaics, paintings and frescoes were popular forms of expression but the most lasting examples of Roman art have been its sculptures and architectural details. Reliefs such as those on the Column of Trajan and the Arch of Titus, for instance, are important examples of Roman Art not just because of their style but also due to their documentary content.
After the Fall of Rome, Byzantine and Gothic influences can be seen in Italian art of the Middle Ages. However, it isn’t until the beginning of the Renaissance in the 1400s that Italian art was celebrated by the world once again. Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci created enduring artworks during this time, including some of the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. And in the 17th century, masters like Caravaggio helped Rome put itself back on the map during the Baroque period, as architectural feats like the Trevi Fountain were simultaneously constructed.
While much of Rome is a walking art gallery, there is still plenty to see in the city's specialist venues. The National Etruscan Museum is a must for anyone interested in pre-Roman art, while the Galleria Borghese is home to important works by Caravaggio and Titian. Finally, the Vatican Museum, home to the magnificent Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms, offer visitors a chance to see the extraordinary works of Michelangelo and other Italian masters first hand.