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MURAL AND MOZAICS OF POMPEII & HERCULANEUM Illusion and Allusion
“Decoration allowed social orientation of two types; first it helped steer them within the house, guiding them round the internal hierarchies of social space and second it offered social orientation by contrasting one house with another, indicating the level of resources and social aspirations of the household. ” Andrew Wallace-Hadrill
• Four "Pompeian" styles of painted wall decoration, which appear throughout Italy and the Roman world, were identified by A. Mau (Pompeii, Its Life and Art, tr. F. W. Kelsey, London, 1899) in the late nineteenth century.
The Four Styles • • • Style I ("incrustation") originated in the early 2 d century BC. It is an imitation of marble veneering, in which the painted decoration resembles slabs of colored marble. Style II ("architectonic") began in the early 1 st century BC. This style opened up the wall by providing an illusion of windows and porticos which looked outward onto imaginary scenes, usually framed by painted columns and architraves. Painted architecture in this style tended towards the heavy and substantial, with multi-point perspective sometimes giving an Escher-like effect. Style III ("ornamental") dates from the Augustan period at the end of the first century BC. Abandoning Style II realistic architecture and open vistas, Style III closed up the walls to create a "picture gallery" effect. Typically a large central picture would be flanked by a smaller picture on each side. Architecture becomes attenuated and insubstantial, and elongated candelabrae often replace the earlier painted columns. Style IV appears in Pompeii following the earthquake of 62 AD, and continues in the Roman world well into the second century AD. Style IV is heterogeneous, and incorporates elements from all of the earlier styles. Architecture becomes more realistic, and the wall tends to open up again, but not so far as in Style II. Developing from Style III, paintings are given an illusion of portability by being set into trompe-l'oeil aediculae, screens, and tapestries. Further developments include the imitation of stage backgrounds, and an "intricate" style consisting of arabesques on white ground, as in the Domus Aurea of Nero in Rome
Colours of the Rainbow • The colors used in the wall paintings at Pompeii were made of plain earth (ochre), minerals (carbonate of copper), and dyes of animal or vegetable origins for Pompeian reds, blues, greens, yellow, and black. Black resulted in a lustrous tone, easily polished, and thus was used in the best rooms to give a luxurious impression. The pigments were often supplemented with a soapy limestone and bonding element to adhere them to the wall. The finished painting was polished with wax to make them shine and preserve them from the incessant bonbardment of smoke and dirt.
Diagrammatic representations of Mau’s Four Styles
• Roger Ling outlines four main points about Roman wall painting (Ling 1992, 1 - 2): • Ancient houses were painted much more than today. Today we tend to think of individually commissioned murals as reserved for only the very rich yet in Pompeii and Herculaneum it was a daily occurrence. • Quality varies from room to room. The more important, and therefore more highly visible and visited rooms, received better paintings. • Paintings must be considered in the context of the architecture settings in which they occur. What was the function of the room? Was it well lit? How does it work with pavements? With furniture? • Wall paintings are a measure of the artistic taste and social aspirations of the owner of the house.
First Style from the House of Sallust
House of the Ship Europa
Second Style from the House of Fannius Synistor
House of Julius Polybius
Second Style Painting from the "Villa of Mysteries, " Pompeii, thought to portray initiation into the mysterious Dionysion cult.
3 rd Style (Pinacothecae or picture gallery )from House of the Vetti
House of Julius Polybius
House of the Chaste Lovers
Fourth Style from The House of the Vetti The walls of the peristyle walkway are decorated with black panels, edged in Pompeiian red with a yellow background. The black panels alternately contain still life and figure paintings.
House of Fabbius Rufus Pompeii
Fourth Style- House of Lucretius Fronto
House of the Mosaic Atrium in Herculaneum
WALL MOSAIC OF POSEIDON AND AMPHITRITE House of Poseidon and Amphitrite Herculaneum c. 70 The wall mosiac, known as opus musivum, became popular in the first century A. D. and primarily decorates grottoes and fountains. The brilliant mosaic of Poseidon and Amphitrite is on the wall of the nymphaeum. A formal architectural setting surrounds the figures
House of the Faun
Sources of Evidence • The Pompeian Wall Painting Styles: • I Style: • II Style: • • House of the Trident, Delos House of Sallust, Pompeii Samnite House, Herculaneum House of Griffins, Rome (first phase) Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii House of P. Fannius Synistor, Boscoreale Villa of Poppaei, Oplontis House of the Cryptoporticus, Pompeii III Style: Villa, Boscotrecase House of Sulpicius Rufus, Pompeii House of L. Caecilius Jucundus, Pompeii House of M. Lucretius Fronto, Pompeii IV Style: House of Menander, Pompeii Villa San Marco, Stabiae House of Neptune, Pompeii House of the Vetii, Pompeii