Did Greece Influence Rome in Art?

By Robert Palmer

Did Greece Influence Rome in Art?

Art has always been a reflection of cultural influences and historical events. The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome are no exception. Both cultures were known for their exquisite artistry, but the question remains: did Greece influence Rome in art?

The Greek Influence on Roman Art

The influence of Greek art on Roman culture cannot be understated. When the Romans conquered Greece in the 2nd century BCE, they were captivated by the rich artistic traditions of their newly acquired territory. This led to a significant adoption and assimilation of Greek artistic techniques and styles within Roman art.


Greek sculpture was highly revered for its attention to detail, anatomical accuracy, and idealized forms. The Romans recognized these qualities and incorporated them into their own sculptures. However, while Greek sculptures often depicted idealized gods and goddesses, Roman sculptures focused more on realistic portraits of individuals.

One famous example is the Augustus of Prima Porta, a marble statue of the first Roman Emperor Augustus. The statue’s contrapposto stance, a technique pioneered by the Greeks, is a testament to the influence of Greek sculpture on Roman art.


Greek architecture heavily influenced Roman architectural styles, particularly during the period known as the Roman Republic. The Romans adopted and adapted many elements from Greek architecture such as columns, arches, and pediments.

The most famous example is the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. While its overall design is distinctly Roman, it incorporates elements inspired by Greek temples such as its pediment and Corinthian columns.

Distinctly Roman Art

While the Romans borrowed heavily from Greek art, they also developed their own unique artistic style. Roman art often conveyed power, grandeur, and a sense of realism.


Roman mosaics were intricate works of art made by arranging small colored pieces of stone or glass to create elaborate designs. These mosaics adorned the floors and walls of Roman villas and public buildings.

An example of Roman mosaic art is the Alexander Mosaic, which depicts the Battle of Issus between Alexander the Great and Darius III. The mosaic showcases intricate details and a realistic representation of figures in action.

Mural Paintings

Another distinct form of Roman art was mural paintings. These large-scale paintings adorned the walls of luxurious villas and captured scenes from mythology, landscapes, and everyday life.

The Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii is renowned for its well-preserved mural paintings. The vivid colors, intricate details, and narrative storytelling reflect the unique artistic expression found in Roman mural paintings.

The Legacy

The influence of Greece on Rome in art cannot be denied. The Romans not only adopted Greek artistic styles but also adapted them to suit their own tastes and needs. This fusion gave birth to a unique style that would define Roman art for centuries to come.

Today, we can still see the impact of this fusion in modern architecture, sculpture, and painting. The legacy of Greek influence on Roman art continues to inspire artists around the world.

  • Greek sculpture influenced Roman sculpture through its attention to detail and idealized forms.
  • Greek architecture inspired many elements in Roman architecture during the Roman Republic.
  • Roman mosaic art showcased intricate designs and realistic representations of figures.
  • Roman mural paintings captured scenes from mythology, landscapes, and everyday life.

In conclusion, the influence of Greece on Rome in art was profound. The Romans not only admired and imitated Greek artistic styles but also added their own unique perspective. This interplay between two great civilizations resulted in a rich artistic legacy that continues to fascinate and inspire us today.