Augustus of Prima Porta Sculpture

The final research paper is devoted to the sculpture of Augustus of Prima Porta. The name the statue received after it was found in 1863, near the small village Prima Porta. After the discovery, the statue received the name after the place it has been found. The art always has been the way to express the idea and transmit it to the future generations. In order to receive the fullest picture possible about the Agustus of Prima Porta statue, the paper was developed on the basis of four investigation strategies and principles. The first stage was the focus on the topic and planning of the paper and its structure. After that, the attention has been paid to the sourcing of the most relevant information according to the topic. The third step is the analysis of the gathered data was to organize the information into structures, so it will be possible to prepare the final report that includes the description of the Augustus of Prima Porta statue in historical context. Behind this, the stress was also done on defining the symbolic elements and their explanation and overall importance of the masterpiece to the society.

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There is very little information about the sculptor of the statue, however, it is believed that is has been the Greek, who developed and created it. The main theme of the sculpture was the dominance of the Roman Empire above other nation and dictatorship that started to be developed within the Roman Empire. According to the analysis of the sculpture, the work dates back to 20 B.C. and there is a belief that it is the response to the victory of Augustus over the Parthians. The victory meant a lot to the Roman people as was the evidence of the true victory. The reason for tremendous celebrations that was sealed in marble, dated back to 53 B.C. when the Roman army faced the uncoverable loss from the Parthians, led by the Crassus. His head has been cut and was transferred to Armenia as the closest geographical point. In overall, the campaign organized by Caesars resulted in his assassination. An interesting fact is that Augustus was, probably the first one who had a small desire to be named as a dictator or a god. The statue is the depiction of the roman soldier who gets the Parthian uniform.

The creative drive is the smooth line of the statue that was not very common at that time, Moreover, there is the feeling of cognitive dissonance: the statue demonstrates the dominance, but the lines that shape the statue are smooth. There might be also interpreting the information about the political and cultural atmosphere and environment that was common at that historical period. The calmness of the facial expression is the given promise to the people that the era of wars will come to an end. The smooth cuts and lines justifying the moral principles and simplicity that Augustus applied during his life.

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The statue is 2 meters high, while the weight of the statue is about 25 pounds (“Augustus of Prima Porta”). Now the statue is located in the Museum of Vatican (“Augustus of Prima Porta”). The pose and position of the Augustus are the demonstration of the power. The power of the human will over the mind and body. The statue is done out of the marble and for the average person proclaims that everything is everlasting but the desire to change the world around through the personal change. The statue is the realistic image of the Augustus.

The elements of power highlight the first impression. A small figure in feet looks to the laurel wreath with the shivers in the eyes (“Augustus of Prima Porta”). At the first look at the statue, the way cherub holds the hand on the leg is the symbol of trust and desire of giddiness trough the taught times. The sculpture appeared in the period when the Augustus planned the structuralization of the empire from republican to the dictatorship ruleset via curtain of participate.


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When to divide the statue into the elements, the attention is attracted to the face. The young face of the emperor denotes the feeling of power. However, it is believed that at that time Augustus reached his forties, with rounded mouth smooth nose and eyebrows with the Primaporta hairstyle the power is transmitting to the others. The locks have the shape of coma.

The breasts have the plate, which is the symbol of the power of the Augustus. It has two figures and symbolizes the victory of Augustus. This is actually the map of the empire with the Spain that depicted via the figure of the female and the barbaric world represented by the man. Children are symbols of the prosperity and pureness (“Augustus of Prima Porta”). Below depicted is the Earth, the victory that was the divine and the cosmic power. There is also depicted the Apollo the Augustus patron and mentor.

The hands are the signs of direction in Romanian culture it means allocation: the gesture of direction and domination not only of the emperor but the whole empire. Interesting that despite the whole sculpture is a harmonic combination of the elements there is still the feeling that elements exist separately.

As it was mentioned above, the statue is the transcending the calmness and smoothness. Despite this, the huge discussion appeared around the age of the statue. One distinguish element of it was the barefoot ruler. The period when Augustus has lived boots was not so common among the population, but the soldiers and senators have used boots in everyday life. The image of god Augustus denied during the life. However, everything has changed after his death. Another memorable fact is the cherub, small Cupid on the dolphins back. The statue element depicted Augustus grandson, who died in early age. Both, Cupid and dolphin, in the context of the statue, are symbols of the world of dead where his grandson will live forever. The legs are in different positions; the left is relaxed, while the right leg is staying stable on the ground.

The statue is the complex meaning that gives the viewer the perception of the culture. However, the figure of the emperor is depicted in a smooth manner; there is still the feeling of the secret hidden behind the ideal face. The Greek sculpture common feature is the idealized impression. The important fact, that the face expression is almost similar to the one that is used in iconography. The statue is the claim against the Christian culture. It tries to show that empire is the way out of the miserable living and the only thing that is needed is the powerful, young leader. At some point, this was the attempt to find more supporters in order to change to the ruleset.

The paradox of the statue is that at the current moment it is located in Vatican Museum (“Augustus of Prima Porta”), the Vatican that is the center of Christian religion and prosperity. The viewer reads the story of the whole empire that tried to save the lands and people against barbaric invasion. The sign of two epochs in the statues gives the understanding that nothing can last forever and every change is important as it is the development and evolution of the human mind and soul. Counting on this no matter how the environment will change, the personality will stay strong and together with it the country will stay solid and united.