Sculptures and paintings are normally used for aesthetic purposes. However, the Romans mainly used them for political propaganda. They designed the sculptures to symbolize the Roman concept of service and to celebrate and immortalize the lives of their rulers and heroic military figures. Roman artists also made paintings that incorporated realistic imagery that created an illusion of the presence of heroic figures. The most common forms of realistic imagery that were used include mythology, strange animals, swirling plants and portraits. The sculptures and the paintings reminded the Romans of their historic political structures and their allegiance to their rulers.