Lecture 8

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Classics 456  Dr. Soren

Roman Painting and Mosaic


   Lecture 8: Patterns of the 1st to 3rd Centuries CE


A. All Over Designs

   l. Octagons and squares

   2. Pelta widespread, also double pelta borders

   3. Fewer emblemata, larger cubes-- avg. 0.8 cms

   4. Four point stars

   5. Solomon's Knot                                        

   6. Circles within squares within circles

   7. Tress patterns- 2 and 3 ply

   8. Sawtooth                                                  

   9. Arrangements of squares and rectangles

  10. Meanders less common but develop interlocking I



B. The Second Century A.D. –

   l. Simplification of human figural style- more formulaic

      but still decorative coherence and plasticity

   2. Eliminate unnecessary figural details

   3. More elaborate, trellis-like overall patterns

   4. Rich and intricate floral patterns- simplified perfection

   5. More flowers and fruit and animal intrusions

   6. More widespread and diverse use of tresses/guilloche

   7. Plain geometric shapes but more clever patterns

   8. Generally lattice-like and elegant

   9. Curlicues and arabesques radiate

  10. Delicate, stringy plasticity often with added busts

  11. Seasons appear

  12. Pelta combinations and acanthus big

  13. Rise of medallions as all-over pattern

  14. Cross with stepped surround big


C. Third Century A.D. – Example: Maison de la Cascade,

    Utica, Tunisia

   l. More careless generally and figures lose purposefulness

   2. Simplicity with less charm

   3. Stiffer with loss of fluidity

   4. Water is schematized, not suggested

   5. Technical decadence, even in foundations of floor


For a PowerPoint of Lecture 8 click here.