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Different Perspectives of Art in Greek and Roman Periods

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The Ludovisi Sarcophagus and the Dying Soldier were created as a means of depicting victory in battle utilizing the depictions of a number of different individuals, including the dying members of the fallen armies. While the Ludovisi Sarcophagus is believed to have been created to celebrate the Romans' victory over the Goths in 215 AD, the Dying Soldier is thought to be part of a pediment scene depicting the Greeks fighting in one of their first wars against Troy, created sometime around 490 BC. Although both works of art depict battle scenes, the context in which they are presented and the scale of the individual figures remain widely different.

The Ludovisi Sarcophagus depicts a great number of individuals at a relatively small scale, covering the entire surface of the marble to such an extent that the background becomes almost nonexistent. “ The dense carving of the relief and the extension to all four sides of the tomb of the battle scene, which teems so thickly with figures as to negate the background, are without precedent” . These figures are not all depicted in their complete forms, several of them are coming up from behind others, such as the top half of the German that one of the Roman infantrymen holds by the beard in the left foreground while his bottom half is hidden behind yet another German who falls before him.

Art historians have suggested many of the finer details of these highly intricate figures were brought out to even greater depth through the application of gold leaf and paint to depict hair and clothing. By contrast, the Dying Soldier as an individual figure was easily separated from the remainder of his battle scene as each figure seems to have been carved separately prior to being placed on the temple pediment (Dubrulle, 2002).

While he constituted one small portion of the battle scene, being separated from the group has not lessened his impact as the separation of one of the figures from the Ludovisi piece would have removed its meaning.

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