Lecture 23

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Classics 456  Dr. Soren

Greek and Roman Painting and Mosaics


             Lecture 23: The Roman House as Mouseion



A. Painting and Pompeii

   l. Since 18th century- background information Pliny

   2. Painting damage- Alcubierre, Winckelmann, Fiorelli

   3. Documents- August Mau, Paul Herrmann, Ludwig Curtius,

       Reinhard Herbig, Cesare

      Faraglia (1925)

4.Goethe- "Only Pompeii reveals the artistic and pictorial of a

    whole people, taste a taste which the most fervent amateur

       of our days lacks in sentiment or care"    


   5. Arnold Bocklin- Swiss painter in Italy

      a. Inspired to find idea inherent in object for sacral- idyllic


      b. "Although they were artisans, the Pompeian paitners

         were still greater than all the

          painters of the 15th and16th centuries.  It is admirable to

          see with what ease  and beauty they ordered everything

          so one object produces an artistic effect on

          the other. One marvels at how well they knew how to  

          paint and how with strong 

          forms they evoke the idea of sweetness and vice-versa.  

        c. Raphael and Titian are just pedants compared to

            ancient beauty."



B. The House as Museion/Pinakotheke

   l. Hellenistic Roman craze for Greek originals

   2. Major development phase- first century B.C. for architecture, painting and mosaics     

   3. House rooms organized to effect vistas

   4. Second Style- epics, mysteries, fun scenes

   5. Third Style- More sacred, Augustan reforms, fantastic yet mythologically sober    

   6. House needs blessings of Muses- Greek custom

   7. Paideia- separates Greek from barbarian, pursuer of

       Muses who have sacred groves, Helikon, Alexandria    

   8. Romans capture Greek muse

   9. Cicero Villa at Tusculum= The Academy

      a. Writes Atticus for Herm of Athena

      b. Hermes for gym, offering to goddess- religious

          humanism, art in proper religious context  

      c. Culture- mystic initiation to higher plane

  10. Trimalchio's House- from hovel to shrine through art

      a. Dog fresco, slave market scene with young Trimalchio—

         curly long slave hair,

         holds staff and enters Rome sponsored by Minerva      

      b. Epullion- Apprentice accountant, paymaster= cursus


      c. Mercury grasps chin, hoists to offical's tribunal

         by Fortuna with cornucopia

      d. Three Fates- Golden thread

      e. Iliad and Odyssey, recent gladiator games

      f. Encolpius- believed originals in various rooms


C. Programmatic Painting- Mary Lee Thompson, Marsyas 1961

   l. Unified theme

   2. Etruscans have it- Athrpa Mirror is Atlanta/Meleager and Venus/Adonis   

   3. Greek painted vases, civic buildings (Pergamum)

   4. Sinnzusammenhang- avoided by earlier diggers

      a. Cut out central pcitures and publish

      b. Romana Accademia Ercolanese di Archeologia 1775

      c. Ancient sources praised easel paintings

   5. 1868- Wolfgang Helbig- 1st serious painting study by

       subject, catalogue for context           

   6. 1889- sequel by Antonio Sogliano

   7. 1873- Helbig groups by genres myth, still life,

            animals, style

  1. Believes painting cycles arose under Alexander with new
  2. method of arranging panel paintings in centers  

    of walls        


      b. Not true

   8. 1882- Mau formulates 4 styles

   9. Adolf Trendelenburg- Archaeologische Zeitung 1876

      a. Scenes vs. lost Greek originals

      b. Not really accurate copies- contaminated by decorative

         needs,intellectual unity

  10. 1952- Karl Schefold- conceptual and narrative links


D. Vogue in later Second plus Third and Fourth Styles

   l. Myths of Troy, Dionysus and Aphrodite- Roman ancestry,

     good times, and love    

   2. Troy= Achilles

   3. Myths- Perseus, Bellerophon, Marsyas, Io

   4. Dionysus and Ariadne, Daedalus, Pasiphae, Theseus


E. Contrasts Too

   l. Aphrodite with virgin, non-loving Diana

   2. City vs. rustic

   3. Owner showoff


F. Philostratus the Elder of Lemnos- born ca. 190 A.D.

   l. Teacher of Greek rhetoric- visits villa by sea

   2. Eikones- The Room of the Rivers

      a. Painting from epic, myth and personifications of natural


      b. Rivers of Asia, Africa, Greece and West

      c. Fight between fire and water as Hephaistos burns the


      d. Fertilizing power of the Nile- dwarfs at each foot

      e. Sea and spring- Poseidon loves Anymone

      f. Fire versus water- Phaethon dies in Eridanos

   3. Room of Dionysus- his life and blessings

      a. Birth

      b. Ariadne made immortal

      c. Pentheus punished

      d. Tyrrhenian pirates

      e. Blessings of wine

      f. Victory as young hunter


G. Parthenon- Lapiths vs. Centaurs, Greeks vs. Amazons, Greeks and Trojans, Gods vs. Giants

      Programmatic- Greeks non-barbarians, ancestors of  

      Athenians, inspiration for modern conflicts     

   2. Stoa Poikile- Athenian agora- Polygnotus and Mikon

      a. Combined legend and history

      b. Amazons with Theseus leading opposition

      c. Ilioupersis

      d. Marathon

      e. Oenoe- Athens versus Sparta in Argolid

      f. Carl Robert- Athens versus 2 foreign invaders plus 2

        campaigns abroad, pageant

        of history implies victory to come  


   3. Zeus Eleutherios Stoa in Agora

      a. Euphranor of Corinth

      b. 12 Gods, Theseus, Demos and Democratia, eponymous

         heroes of 10 tribes,

         battle of Mantinea 362 B.C.

      c. Athenian piety, political supremacy, military might

   4. Triumphal arches and imperial statues- propaganda


H. Subtle Programmatic Ideas

   l. House of the Tragic Poet- Adolph von Trendelenburg 1876

      a. Painterly puns in Triclinium

      b. Ariadne abandoned, Aphrodite fishing, Narcissus- kinds

         of love    

      c. Each in similar pose- on rock by water with Eros

      d. Each alone for different reason

2. Villa of the Mysteries - why programmatic?

      a. Descent into and out of mythological/religious world

      b. All scenes of Dionysus spatially charged- use wall


I. The Villa of Boscotrecase- New York and Naples

   l. 1902- 4 rooms of villa rustica

   2. Railroad between here and Torre Annunziata

   3. 1903- Ernesto Santini, digger and land owner

   4. 1906- Vesuvius eruption

   5. 1922- M. della Corte Notizie degli scavi

   6. 1962- Von Blanckenhagen and C. Alexander

   7. Rostovtzeff- Romische Mitteilungen 1911

      a. Caesari August femina mater erat

      b. Julia? wed to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, Agrippa,

         and Tiberius, sons Gaius and Lucius, daughter

         Agrippina and son Agrippa Postumus 12 B.C.-14

      c. Villa of 21-16 B.C. and decoration 3-7 A.D.

      d. Tile- pupil Agrip Tub Fabio cos, refers to ward Tubero

          and Fabius 11 B.C.


   1. Black Room and Red Room

  2. Polyphemos and Galatea

      a. Montage to color in his dual personality

      b. Theocritus

  3. Perseus and Andromeda

      a. Most mythological landscapes third style

      b. Daughter of Ethiopian Cepheus and Casseiopeia

      c. Lovelier than Nereids and Poseidon brings plague

      d. Perseus greeted at palace by Cepheus


For the PowerPoint of this lecture click here.