The establishment of Roman Republic in 509 Ad after the overthrow of the Etruscan kings has an important association with the earliest Roman art. The two main divisions of roman art are divided based on the periods; they are the art of the Roman Empire and art of the Republic. Art does not mean only paintings. Roman art includes painting, architecture, mosaic work and sculpture. Gem engraving, ivory carvings, metal-work and glass works were considered minor art forms of Rome.
Roman art did not portray only the aristocracy, senators or emperors; it included all the people of Rome, like the slaves, soldiers, freedmen and middleclass businessmen. It also depicted the provinces in Rome. Even though there are a huge numbers of art and paintings of Rome like paintings, decorative arts, buildings and sculpture, very few of the artists’ names were recorded. This makes it obvious that the monuments of Rome were for the needs of their patron and not to express their artistic talents.
The traditional view of the Roman art is that they are copied from the Greek precedents; most of the Greek sculptures that are known today are the marble copies of Rome. However, recent analysis of the Roman art has indicated that their art is a highly creative pastiche relying mostly on the Greek art but it also depicts native Italy, Etruscan tradition and Egyptian culture.
The large number of Roman art’s Greek inspiration shows that the high esteem the Roman artists had for the Greek art. This was thought to be because of the higher and rarer quality of the Greek art. The many of the art forms used by Romans, like the free-standing sculpture, high and low relief, mosaic, coin art, cameo, metalwork, fine jewelry, metal work, perspective drawing, genre and portrait painting, caricature, landscape painting, and trompe l’oeil painting, were all refined and developed by ancient Greek artists.