How Was Art in Ancient Rome Similar but Different From Ancient Greece?

When comparing the art of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, it is evident that there are both similarities and differences. Both civilizations placed a significant emphasis on visual aesthetics, but their approaches and styles varied. In this article, we will explore how art in Ancient Rome was similar to, yet different from, art in Ancient Greece.


One of the key similarities between Roman and Greek art lies in their shared inspiration from mythology and religion. Both civilizations celebrated their gods and goddesses through sculpture, painting, and architecture. Mythological figures such as Zeus, Athena, Apollo, and Venus were commonly depicted in both Roman and Greek art.

Another similarity can be found in the use of bold and grandiose architectural structures. Both Romans and Greeks constructed magnificent temples, theaters, amphitheaters, and public buildings that showcased their artistic prowess. These structures often featured intricate carvings, columns, friezes, and pediments that added grandeur to their designs.



In terms of sculpture, there are notable differences between Roman and Greek art. While Greek sculptures focused on idealized forms with an emphasis on anatomical precision, Roman sculptures were more realistic in nature. Roman artists aimed to capture the individuality of the subjects they depicted rather than adhering strictly to idealized beauty.

Greek sculptures predominantly portrayed gods, goddesses, athletes, and heroes as perfect beings embodying harmony and balance. In contrast, Roman sculptures encompassed a wider range of subjects including politicians, emperors, ordinary citizens engaged in various activities like hunting or reading.

Architectural Influence

The architectural influence of both civilizations also differed. Greek architecture heavily influenced Roman architecture during the early years of the Roman Republic.

The Romans adopted many elements such as columns (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian), arches, and domes from the Greeks. However, as the Roman Empire expanded, their architectural style evolved into a distinct form known as Romanesque architecture.

One key difference is the development of the arch by the Romans. The use of arches allowed for larger and more durable structures such as aqueducts and bridges. The Romans also extensively used concrete in their constructions, which enabled them to build on a massive scale.

Influence and Legacy

Both Roman and Greek art had a profound influence on Western art throughout history. The legacy of Greek art can be seen in various forms such as neoclassical architecture and sculpture during the Renaissance period. The Romans, on the other hand, left a lasting impact on architecture with their innovative engineering techniques.

In conclusion, while there are similarities between Ancient Roman and Greek art in terms of mythological inspiration and grand architectural structures, differences can be observed in sculpture styles and architectural development. Both civilizations made significant contributions to the world of art, leaving behind a rich cultural heritage that continues to inspire artists today.

  • Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece shared a focus on mythology and religion in their art.
  • Greek sculptures were idealized while Roman sculptures aimed for realism.
  • Roman architecture evolved from Greek influence but developed distinct features like arches.