The Arch of Costantino --
After the lion hunt ... Votive thanks to Hercules...
.....and the "congiarium" or distribution of money by
the emperor in Caesar's Forum, in year 313 a.d.
watercolor  8" x 9"
The four Dacian prisoners of the northern side of the triumphal arch somehow made me
think of the fact that Constantine himself was born in that outlying region of the
Roman Empire -- obviously two hundred years after Trajan had conquered those lands
and named them "Rumania," etc. This interesting birthplace for Constantine makes me
think that his placement of the Dacian countrymen on his arch had a deeper
significance, and that the figures were more than cold historical "precendents" or
boasting on his part.

The two rectangular MarcusAurelian reliefs from the same northern side of the
triumphal arch do hark back to that predecessor's military campaigns in the area of
what is today Germany, etc. -- but again, Constantine may have seen some deeper
significance to these four scenes.

For example, I especially meditated on the figure of the winged victory hovering over
the scene of the MarcusAurelius relief on the left side (above) .  And by the same token, I
was struck by the seated figure on the bottom right hand side of the second of these
reliefs, probably showing Marcus Aurelius in the act of showing clemency to one of the
conquered. Clemency!
This page also displays other moments or
DETAILS  from the same Arch.
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Page One with full view of Arch and other
                        The Arch of Costantino
...Dacian prisoners and scenes from Marcus Aurelius
wars against the Quadi and Marcomanni)
watercolor  8" x 9"
The Arch of Constantine
Page three
José Grave de Peralta
Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
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There's . . .  blood all over this watercolor, and it is not only from the colors of the
porphyry marble. The blood is from the LION HUNT, which I feel Emperor Constantine
read much into when he beheld the Hadrianic tondos and decided to transpose them to his
own triumphal arch.

In fact the figures of the second rounded image are making a thanksgiving offering to
Hercules, says Filippo Coarelli in his archaeological tome of Roma, and I take this to
mean that Constantine himself acknowledged the utmost importance of the hunting
instinct and the acto of votive thanks as essential qualities of himself as a ruler.

Below the medallions, in the long horizontal marble relief, again the proportions of the
figures speak of Constantine's own era, no longer classical. In this PROCESSIONAL
image I especially enjoyed seeing the consuls and advisors of the emperor's court as
hybrids of the new times he was ushering in by legalizing, indeed, promoting the
Christian religion in Rome. The figures in this horizontal seem to be morphing into
high priests, cardinals, monsegniors -- even in their togas!
Given the presence of a rich area of a porphyry marble surrounding two of the
medallions or tondos on the northern side of the triumphal arch, I decided to let water
color BE just that -- water COLOR --  and thus painted these two tondos using a
richer, less inhibited palette.

I realized, from "reading" and subsequently painting the watercolors of these areas of
the Arch, that pedestals are as important to the composition as the events depicted
                      The Arch of Costantino
...Dacian prisoners and scenes from Marcus Aurelius
wars against the Quadi and Marcomanni)
watercolor  8" x 9"
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Arch Costantino in Rome
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