The historical commemorative bas-relief
The possibility to bring life-like figures and objects out of the two-dimensional background of a stone slab, allowed to cover monuments with “alive” depictions, able to offer a visual narrative of events of religious, civil or military interest.
In the Roman world, in all areas and at all levels, images always played a crucial role. Rome and other Roman cities were in fact thronged by images of all kinds, both in public places and within private spaces. In the public context the spread of images constituted a formidable means of communication and their conveyance could take different forms. Among these, the historical commemorative bas-relief undoubtedly had a special significance in Roman art. The facts narrated, always characterized by a strong political value, were functional to the exaltation of the qualities and merits of the personalities being honoured. Alongside the account of real events, symbolic and memorial compositions were often used drawing from the mythological heritage, such as those which commemorated the most ancient origins of Rome.