Lecture 4

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          Lecture 4: Roman Mosaic in the First Century B.C.


A. Floor Types of the First Century B.C. in Pompeii

   l. Associated with true mosaic

   2. Black and white style preferred

   3. Opus Graecanicum (Pliny)- charcoal, lime, ashes, sand

   4. Opus Punicum- colored limestone pieces

   5. Opus Segmentatum

   6. Opus Signinum – Signum (now Segni) C. Italy, famous for floors

   7. Coccio Pesto

   8. Opus Spicatum

   9. Opus Lithostroton (Pliny) – parvulis certe crustis, pavement of crustae

  10. Opus Sectile and Opus Scutulatum

  11. Black and White True Mosaics- Meander, rosettes, imbrication,



B. Palestrina (Praeneste)- southeast of Rome

   l. Giorgio Gullini 1956-  second or first century B.C.

   2. The Amazing Nilotic Mosaic- The Barberini Mosaic

      a. Francesco Barberini- wealthy merchant 1528-1600

      b. Maffeo 1568-1644 became Pope Urban VIII in 1623

      c. Urban makes cousin Francesco and nephew Antonio the

          Younger cardinals

      d. Antonio- patron of Bernini, lover of antiquity

      e. Dynasty out of major power by1736

      f. Francesco- 1597-1679 lives in Tuscany

         a. Noted Oriental scholar

         b. Co-founds Barberini Library for rare manuscripts of which  

             many now in Vatican       

         c. Palazzo Barberini- north central Rome 1625

         d. 1625- Cardinal Andrea Peretti removes it after engraving of it

             done by Cassiano dal Pozzo and most of it to Rome                

         e. 1640- Francesco buys Praeneste real estate and Peretti

             transports it back as gift but it is almost destroyed                   

         f. 1647- Put in Praeneste palace by Taddeo Barberini

         g. 1853- Brought to Rome and restored in St. Peter's

         h. 1855- Returns to Praeneste and Prince Enrico


         i. 1943- Sent to Rome for protection

         j. 1952- Uncrating at Museo Nazionale in Rome

         k. Circa 1965- Back in Praeneste


C. Scenes of the Barberini Mosaic

   l.  Pergola Scene

   2. Soldiers under tent

   3. Egyptian temple scene


D. Significance of the Barberini Mosaic - annual flood of Nile brings  


   l. Petrographic analysis- materials are Vesuvian

   2. Who made it?  Letters are Greek

   3. Popularity of mosaics all over Italy under Sulla

   4. Nilotic paesaggio- Late Hellenistic development- humans

       subordinate to nature

   5. Impressionism--compare with late 19th century France

      a. Petronius- Compendiaria

      b. Pliny- celeritas of Philoxenos

      c. Maybe invented by Antiphilos of Egypt, rival of Apelles

      d. Facilitas

      e. Is Alexandria the source of this?

      f. Chiaroscuro effects and highlighting of figures

      g. Can lead to over-simplified slapdash work later


E. Alexandria- Intellectual Center

   l. Demetrios Topographos?  Ptolemies-- Greek influence

   2. Bird's eye view- special perspective

   3. Greek art in its Alexandrian phase... or Roman?

   4. Pantheistic

   5. Stoic

   6. Atmosphere or topography?

   7. Reverence for nature,

   8. Sfumato effects


F. Companion Mosaic Found in Praeneste

   l. Fish Mosaic- studied in 1909 by Marucchi

   2. Antro delle Sorti- genre scene paesaggio

   3. Naturalistic observation- waves by coast, water soft green

      and blackens further off shore and waves taper off

   4. Romans later adapt scene and alter format