Roman art: Mosaic and the Minor Arts

Mosaic and the Minor Arts

The continued striving after three-dimensional illusionist effects revealed in the various phases of painting was duplicated in the development of mosaics, extensively produced throughout the empire. In general the Roman minor arts tend to emphasize sumptuousness of materials and ornamentation. Cameos and golden jewelry were extensively produced. Among the most famous is the large Cameo of the Deified Augustus (Paris).

The famous pottery from Arretium (modern Arezzo) was mass-produced and widely exported. Early examples employed a black finish and aimed at imitation of metallic effects. From the time of Augustus, the ware was characterized by a deep red glaze with decorative figures in low relief applied to the body of the vase. During the 1st cent. a.d. new processes were invented for making glass, and techniques were developed for the imitation of precious stones that made possible the production of fine murrhine vases (e.g., the famous Portland vase, British Museum).

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