I continue the stay-at-home travel Art + Roman Architecture + the city of Rome with Yale’s course Roman Architecture https://www.coursera.org/learn/roman-architecture.
Innovations in Concrete at Rome: The Tabularium and the Theatre of Marcellus. 3-4
Ancient Rome offered its citizens a number of stunning venues where they could be entertained, wined and dined. The Theatre of Marcellus was one the most impressive theatre, located in the center of Rome. Apparently Seven famous Hills was not enough for Roman architects and if they wanted to build a theatre on a flat terrain, they cemented an artificial hill and built a tribune in the very center of the city where people could sit. For this monument Romans used many architectural innovations, especially their pedestal and yes, the theatre was the precedent for the Colosseum. Theatre of Marcellus was reused as a fortress in middle ages, main prototype for Roman theatres and nowadays it is an expensive condominium. The Romans took what the Greek architects did, and then they took from the Etruscan architectural achievements. They combined the best of both brilliant civilizations of architectural discoveries, then added something of their own, developed further, without fear of experimenting.
For my watercolor reference’s painting of the Theatre of Marcello with a nearby column of the Temple of Apollo , I used the Google Earth app to view the building from a bird’s eye view. Julius Caezar planned the open-air theatre but died before it was completed. Then Emperor Augustus took up the reins and dedicated the theatre to memory of his nephew and son in law Marcellus in 17BC, when the theatre was used for dramas and arena fights.
Teatro Marcello was decorated with marble statues and large bronze vases, placed around the perimeter to enhance the sound, masks of the heroes of comedies and tragedies. The inner part consisted of three tiers of marble steps, divided into sectors for noble townspeople, places for women, a separate area for common people and slaves. And the box of the emperor was separated from the other seats. Augustus ordered that the interior design of the theatre surpassed in its splendor all previous buildings.
I like how Vitruvius, the Roman genius -engineer, artist, architect and writer who wrote 10 books about architecture, described the Greek columns. Theatre of Marcellus’s Doric columns are attached to the 1st level as a “male” column: simple, courageous, no curls or ornaments. Ionic columns are on the second floor, they are the “feminine” type of column with elements of a lady’s hairstyle. Corinthian columns probably decorated the third floor, although nothing survives of the top level, this is only an assumption of scientists since this level has not been preserved.
It was also the preliminary design for the Colosseum and they are so similar… When our family first passed by the Theatre of Marcellus we thought it is the Colosseum, from a view from another side of the street… Theatre of Marcellus was built only a couple of centuries earlier then the Colosseum. I would like to buy tickets for the Roman music concerts here. Every summer there is a series of classical concerts that take place here called “Notti Romane al Teatro di Marcello” and I would imagine the ancient open-air theatre where people used to come and listen to great music or performance in year 17 BC.
All roads lead to Rome- Alain de Lille
Bon voyage! Until the next travel:) Stay healthy.
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Painting – Rome, Theatre of Marcellus, Roman Architecture
Year of construction – 17 year BC
Address: Via del Teatro di Marcello, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Tools used for my painting Watercolour Cotman terra de siena and viridian Corman, Charvin bleu royal, Derwent, Albert Durer and Faber Castell watercolour pencils. Paper Van Gogh, National gallery watercolour album, 22×30 cm (9 ×12 in.)