Felix dies natalis, Hadriane!

Secondae Mensae: Laterculi (Poppy-seed Cakes) Happy 1939th birthday Hadrian! © Carole Raddato

Secondae Mensae: Laterculi (Poppy-seed Cakes)
Happy 1939th birthday Hadrian!
© Carole Raddato

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Hadrianeum and the personifications of provinces

Just a short walk from the Pantheon, in Piazza di Pietra, are the majestic remains of the Temple of the deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) built by Antoninus Pius, Hadrian’s adopted son and successor. Of the original temple, only eleven columns with capitals and the cella wall are still visible today.

Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

In 1696, during the pontificate of Pope Innocent XII, the surviving part of the temple was incorporated into a large building designed by Carlo Fontana to house the central Customs Office. In 1879-82 the building was modified and its baroque decoration was replaced by a simpler one; in 1928 the wall of the cella was freed from later additions. Today the building houses the Borsa Valori di Roma, Rome’s stock exchange.

The north side colonnade and the cella wall of the Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

The north side colonnade and the cella wall of the Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

The temple to the divine Hadrian was erected in the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) and was dedicated in AD 145. The order is Corinthian and the columns are 15-metre-high and made of Proconnesian marble with its characteristic greyish colour. Only the lower part of the entablature is left from the original (the highest section being a reconstruction). 16th and 17th century drawings show how the edifice looked like when the original entablature was still in place.

Drawing of the Temple by Giuseppe Vasi, c. 1750

Drawing of the Temple by Giuseppe Vasi, c. 1750

The entablature resting on Corinthian capitals, Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

The entablature resting on Corinthian capitals, Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Model of the Hadrianeum

Model of the Hadrianeum

The cella and columns (part of the north side of the temple) stand upon a stylobate and large podium. A deep excavation in front of the colonnade has exposed the original ground level of the temple precinct, 5 meter below the present floor level.

The stylobate of the Hadrianeum, the stepped platform on which colonnades of temple columns were placed, the temple precinct was 5 meter below the present floor level, Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

The stylobate and podium of the Hadrianeum, Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Several excavations between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries in the vicinity of the temple have identified the line of a monumental wall in peperino tufa running parallel with the northern flank of the temple. This wall was part of a large enclosure wall that formed the temple’s porticus. During these excavations a series of marble reliefs were also discovered. A recent theory suggesting that they adorned the attic of the portico has been favored by scholars. However various other theories have been offered; the atttic of the temple, the temple podium or the outer temple portico.

Reconstruction drawing by Amanda Claridge (1999) of the  portico surrounding the Temple of the Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) which was decorated with the 'Provinces' reliefs

Reconstruction drawing by Amanda Claridge (1999) of the portico surrounding the Temple of the Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) which was decorated with the ‘Provinces’ reliefs

Nineteen panels survive from what was potentially a much larger series. They were carved in relief with personifications of provinces altered with depictions of captured arms and armour. The reliefs were found without any inscriptions but each figure was wearing and carrying distinctive costumes and attributes. Scholars have attempted to name the provinces they were meant to represent, but unfortunately they have not all been successfully identified.

The panels are on display in five different collections in Rome and Naples. Seven provinces and three reliefs with trophies are prominently displayed in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome (Capitoline Museums).

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Scythia or Noricum, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Moesia or Thrace, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Cyrenaica, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Achaia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (armor, lance and flag) relief from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius erected by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (armor, lance and flag) relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Dacia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Mauretania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Moesia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Gallia or Germania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (shields, axes and spears) relief from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius erected by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (shields, ax and spears) relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Hispania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Hispania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Mauretania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Bithynia or Dacia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Trophies of war (captured Dacian Draco) relief from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius erected by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Trophies of arms (tunic, short spear, captured Dacian Draco) relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Dacia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Dacia, Libya or Numidia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Two restored panels with personification of provinces are housed in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Egypt, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Egypt, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Thrace, relief from the Hadrianeum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Thrace, relief from the Hadrianeum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Another tree reliefs with personification of provinces and two with trophies are housed in the Naples Archaeological Museum.

Representation of the Roman provinces and Trophies of war, reliefs from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius, dedicated by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of the Roman provinces and trophies of arms, reliefs from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Parthia or Armenia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Parthia or Armenia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Scythia or Noricum, relief from the Hadria, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Scythia or Noricum, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Phrygia or Bithinia, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Phrygia or Bithinia, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

The other known elements are scattered in several Roman collections or lost, but are known from drawings from the Renaissance and later periods.

The choice to represent the personifications of Provinces within a temple dedicated to the divine Hadrian had a very specific propaganda meaning; these “Provinciae Fideles” were the symbol of political order and of a pacified empire, the clearest beneficiaries of Hadrian’s foreign policy of pacification and unification.

Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Posted in Antoninus Pius, Hadrian, Italy, Museum, Roman art, Roman Temples, Rome | Tagged | 4 Comments

Roman frescoes on show in Toulouse (France)

Last weekend I travelled to Toulouse to visit the fabulous exhibition on Roman frescoes being held at the Musée Saint-Raymond. The exhibition entitled ‘L’Empire de la couleur – De Pompéi au sud des Gaules’ (which translates as ‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’) opened last November and runs through March 2015.

Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, exhibition poster

‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’ exhibition poster

The majority of Roman frescoes were found in Campania, in the region around the Bay of Naples. It is there that Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, burying much of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and nearby villas. The ash, lapilli, and mud that seeped into the houses acted as a preservative for wall paintings, but also for many households and decorative objects, as well as organic materials. Most of the paintings were detached from the houses of Pompeii and the surrounding area between the mid-eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. They represent an exceptional insight into the development of Roman painting from the Late Republic to the Empire.

This major exhibition, for the first time in France, is showcasing 79 works of art including fragments of painted walls from Italy and Southern Gaul, some of which were exceptionally lifted or restored for the occasion. Thanks to exceptional loans from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, the Musée du Louvre and the museum of Saint-Romain-en-Gal (Rhône) among others, the exhibition aims to show the evolution of Roman painting in Southern Gaul by bringing them face to face with Italians “models”, particularly from the perspective of assimilation and interpretation of the four Pompeian styles.

L’Empire de la couleur. De Pompéi au sud des Gaules (Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul)

Overview of the exhibition ‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

Elaborate wall frescoes provided elite Roman citizens with an opportunity for conspicuous displays of affluence and social status. Roman paintings were often done in the fresco technique as was described by Vitruvius (De Architectura) and Pliny The Elder (Naturalis Historia). First, a layer of rough coating was applied on the support, a mortar composed of hydrated lime and coarse sand. A second layer consisting of hydrated lime and well-filtered fine sand was added and finally a third layer made of pigments and pure water was applied in several coatings with a brush to give a smoother finish. Colours were added when the surface was still wet.

The exhibition opens with the work of two restorers, Aude Aussilloux and Maud Mulliez, who worked for seven months to recreate a mural fresco decoration using the same techniques that would have been used in ancient times. They made ​​their own brushes and tools and used non-synthetic pigments. 

Replica of wall fresco from Vienna, recreated by two restorers using the same techniques that would have been used in ancient times, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Replica of wall fresco from Vienna, recreated by two restorers using the same techniques used in ancient times
‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

You can watch a video of the restorers at work here. It’s really impressive!

The two panels are two sections of a wall that decorated the peristylum (peristyle, inner courtyard surrounded by columns) of a Roman domus in Vienna. The images below show the original fresco fragments, on display at the Musée gallo-romain de Saint-Romain-en-Gal (Rhône, France).

The four “Pompeian” styles of painted wall decoration which appear throughout Italy and the Roman world were identified by August Mau, a prominent German art historian and archaeologist, in the late nineteenth century. This division was based on fundamental differences in the way the artist treated the wall and painted space. The first two styles began in the Republican period, and were outgrowths of Greek wall paintings, while the Third and Fourth styles are found in imperial times. This piece features a selection of several paintings from the exhibition for each of the Pompeian styles.

The First Pompeian Style

The first Pompeian style, or “Incrustation Style” (ca. 200–60 BC), consisted mainly of imitations of colored marble. Plaster was molded and painted to look like blocks or panels of colored stones. The First Style originated in the Hellenistic world in the late fourth century BC and was used in Roman homes in the last two centuries of the Republic. There is almost nothing left of the masterpieces of Greek painting but one painted wall panel dating to the 2nd century BC was found in the so-called House of the Plaster, in the Macedonian’s capital of Pella. In Pompeii, significant examples of this fist Pompeian style are found in the House of Sallust and in the House of the Faun.

The first style is hardly present in Gaul. This is not surprising since this old style gave way to a more fashionable and stylish type of frescoes. Only a few stucco fragments have been found at Île Sainte-Marguerite near Cannes which can be seen at the exhibition.

Fresco fragment from Sainte-Marguerite of the first Pompeian Style

Fresco fragment from Sainte-Marguerite of the first Pompeian Style
‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée de la Castre, Cannes

The Second Pompeian Style

The Second Pompeian style, or “Architectural Style”, began in Rome in the early years of the first century and was first seen in Pompeii shortly after 80 BC. This period saw a focus on architectural features and trompe-l’oeil compositions. The Second Pompeian style developed out of the First Style but the whole scheme changed in that three-dimensional objects, principally architectural features, were painted realistically rather than modeled in plaster. Some of the most famous examples of frescoes in the Second Style come from the villas at Boscoreale near Pompeii and particularly from the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor. Four panels from this lavish villa are exceptionally reunited in this exhibition, together with a model of the villa and computer reconstructions. They provide a great setting for these various frescoes which are now sitting in eight different museums throughout Europe and the US.

Wall panels from the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Wall panels from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits and leaves from the exedra of the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse On loan from the Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France © Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits and leaves, from the exedra of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France
© Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits, leaves and sacrificial bull's head (bucrania), from the exedra of the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits, leaves and sacrificial bull’s head (bucrania), from the exedra of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France
© Carole Raddato

Computer reconstruction of the Villa at Boscoreale undertaken for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. View of room C, the entry to the villa, facing south into the entry courtyard.  Infographic James Stanton-Abbott

Computer reconstruction of the Villa at Boscoreale undertaken for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. View of room C, the entry to the villa, facing south into the entry courtyard.
© James Stanton-Abbott

Fresco depicting a winged genius holding a patera (sacrificial dish), from the north wall of the peristyle of Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting a winged genius holding a patera (sacrificial dish), from the north wall of the peristyle of Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Alongside the frescoes from Boscoreale, the exhibition brings a number of fresco panels from a sumptuous Gallo-Roman domus which has been excavated on the plateau of La Sioutat, near the village of Roquelaure (Gers). The domus goes back at least to the time of Augustus and has produced polychrome frescoes in a the Second Pompeian Style. These have been restored and are on loan from the Musée des Jacobins of Auch.

Fresco depicting Bacchus, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting Bacchus, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC
Empire of colour- From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée des Jacobins d’Auch
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in Second Pompeian style with decoration of architectural type on a red background, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in Second Pompeian style with decoration of architectural type on a red background, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée des Jacobins d’Auch
© Carole Raddato

The Third Pompeian Style

The Third Style, or “Ornate Style,”, which coincided with Augustus’ reign, came about in the early 1st century AD and was popular until about 50 AD. Instead of trying to create the illusion of the wall as a window that opened onto a landscape, the Third Style favored ornate and colorful decoration painted on monochrome backgrounds. It often presented great finesse in execution and was typically noted as simplistically elegant. The wall was frequently divided into three to five vertical zones by narrow, spindly columns and decorated with painted foliage, candelabra, birds, animals, and figurines. The Third Style also saw the introduction of Egyptian themes and imagery, including scenes  of the Nile as well as Egyptian deities and motifs.

Well-known examples from this era include a series of beautifully intricate paintings from the Boscotrecase villa built by Agrippa, friend of Emperor Augustus and husband of his daughter Julia. The exhibition brings one panel from the so-called Black Room at Boscotrecase.

Fragment of fresco in the Third Pompeian Style, from the "Black Room" of the Imperial Villa at Boscotrecase, last decade of 1st century BC Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fragment of fresco in the Third Pompeian Style, from the “Black Room” of the Imperial Villa at Boscotrecase, last decade of 1st century BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

The Third style was introduced early in Southern Gaul, probably on the occasion of Augustus’ visit to Lugdunum (Lyon) between 16 and 13 BC. Wall panels from this style have been discovered in Perigueux, Aix-en-Provence and Perpignan. The decors became more sober and tended to produce decoration without depth set in monochrome backgrounds.

Reproduction of a wall from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) © R. Nunes Pedroso et A.-S. Leclerc

Reproduction of a wall from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence)
© R. Nunes Pedroso et A.-S. Leclerc

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with trompe-l'oeil architetural composition, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with trompe-l’oeil architetural composition, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Ruscino (Château-Roussillon, Pyrénées-Orientales)
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with omphalos, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with omphalos, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan, Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Ruscino (Château-Roussillon, Pyrénées-Orientales)
© Carole Raddato

The Fourth Pompeian Style

The Fourth Pompeian Style, or “Intricate Style”, saw a resurgence in architectural scenes, although without the illusionary depth that characterized the second style. It became popular in the mid-first century AD and was seen in Pompeii until the city’s destruction in 79 AD. It also incorporated central panel pictures with mythological episodes, landscapes, scenes of daily life and still life images which appear in numerous paintings in the exhibition. Some of the best examples of Fourth Style painting come from the House of the Vettii which can also be visited in Pompeii and Herculaneum today.

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style with portraits set in medallions with blue background, from the exedra of the House of the Mosaic Atrium, 50-79 AD Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style with portraits set in medallions with blue background, from the exedra of the House of the Mosaic Atrium, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting Mars and Venus with on a blue background, from Herculaneum, 50-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting Mars and Venus with on a blue background, from Herculaneum, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment depicting Urania, Muse of astronomy, from the House of Julia Felix in Pompeii, 62-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment depicting Urania, from the House of Julia Felix in Pompeii, 62-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting the personification of the Sarnus river with two Nymphs, from a wall in the House of the Vestals at Pompeii, 50-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting the personification of the Sarnus river with two Nymphs, from a wall in the House of the Vestals at Pompeii, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Still life fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting three dead birds, from Pompeii, 50-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Still life fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting three hanging birds, from Pompeii, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Syle from Pompeii or Herculaneum, 62-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Syle from Pompeii or Herculaneum, 62-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Outside Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Fourth Style was used in Roman Wall Painting until the first years after 100 AD. The most important post-Pompeian wall painting evidence for the Fourth Style comes from Ostia Antica and Ephesus, where the trend carried on into Late Antiquity.

Painting in Gaul during the Flavian period was an original provincial creation. With the exception of Narbonne, no Gallic site has produced examples of Fourth Pompeian Style frescoes. Instead, the wall paintings created in Gaul from the second-half of the first century are developments of the third style and regional schools rapidly developed. The exhibition brings numerous fresco fragments which show these developments.

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with cantharus from Vienna (Vienne), 2nd half of 1st century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with cantharus from Vienna (Vienne), 2nd half of 1st century AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Gallo-Roman Museum of Saint-Romain-en-Gal
© Carole Raddato

One of the fresco panels exhibited from Orange depicts a candelabra and two swans. The swans, the birds of Apollo, patron god of Augustus, may symbolize Augustus’s victory over Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Swans also appears as decorations on public imperial monuments erected at this time, such as the monumental Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis) in Rome.

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with candelabra and two swans, from the cubiculum of the Roman Domus in Arausio (Orange), 2nd half of 1st century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with candelabra and two swans, from the cubiculum of the Roman Domus in Arausio (Orange), 2nd half of 1st century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Museum of Art and History of Orange
© Carole Raddato

Another fresco fragment from Aix-en-Provence (Aquae Sextiae) depicts a candelabra holding a tragic theatre mask.

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Sytle with candelabra on blue background and theatre mask, from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), ca. 50-70 AD Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Sytle with candelabra on blue background and theatre mask, from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), ca. 50-70 AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Mairie d’Aix-en-Provence, Archéologie
© Carole Raddato

Post Pompeian Paintings

Mau’s categorization goes as far as Pompeii. But what about Roman painting after 79 AD? The Romans did continue to paint their homes and monumental architecture and the artists of this era adapted some of the earlier styles. During this time we see a development in ceiling and vault paintings as they became more luxurious. Ornamental motifs became richer in color and had more detail.

Fresco fragment depicting a Felin on the edge of a cornice, from Nemausus (Nimes), 2nd century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment depicting a feline on the edge of a cornice, from Nemausus (Nimes), 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Nîmes Archaeology Museum
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with a gladiatorial scene (munus gladiatorium), from the Forum of Vesunna (Périgueux), 2nd century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with a gladiatorial scene (munus gladiatorium), from the Forum of Vesunna (Périgueux), 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum, Périgueux
© Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting a menead carrying a thyrsus, from a ceiling of a domus in Colonia Narbo Martius (Narbonne), end of 1st century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting a menead carrying a thyrsus, from a ceiling of a domus in Colonia Narbo Martius (Narbonne), end of 1st century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Narbonne Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with vegetal motifs on write background, from the Gallo-Roman Villa Grassi in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), 2nd century AD, L'Empire de la couleur. De Pompéi au sud des Gaules, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with vegetal motifs on write background, from the Gallo-Roman Villa Grassi in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Mairie d’Aix-en-Provence, Archéologie
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with mask and Tympanum (tambourine) on red background, from Narbonne, 2nd century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with mask and Tympanum (tambourine) on red background, from Narbonne, 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Narbonne Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Exhibition catalogue

Exhibition catalogue

 

The museum Saint-Raymond has produced a wonderful and richly illustrated exhibition catalogue (in French). You can order it online here.

The museum is among the best and richest archaeological museums in France. One can discover the Roman town of Tolosa, the sculptures of the villa Chiragan and the remains of a necropolis from late antiquity. Its collection, spread over three floors, gives a fascinating glimpse of the history of Toulouse and its area. The museum houses a great gallery of marble statues. Since the first excavation of the villa of Chiragan, in 1826, dozens of Roman marble portraits were unearthed. Today they form one of the most important collections in Europe and the second in France, after the Louvre’s collection.

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse © Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse © Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

FURTHER INFORMATION
Opening hours: The museum is open every day from 10am till 6pm.
Admission rates: 4 € fee (permanent collection) / 8 € fee (with exhibition).
Free for students, teachers at the Fine Arts School of Toulouse, and youth under 18 years of age.
A guidebook is available in three languages : french, english, spanish.
Address: 1 ter place Saint-Sernin 31000 Toulouse

Website / Twitter / Facebook

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse © Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

Posted in Exhibition, France, Italy, Museum, Photography, Roman art, Roman Frescoes | 2 Comments

Felix Dies Natalis, Luci Aeli!

Originally posted on FOLLOWING HADRIAN:

On this day (January, 13) in 101 AD  Lucius Aelius, Hadrian’s first intended successor, was born. Aelius was the son of a powerful senatorial family. He served as consul in 136 AD and was officially adopted by Hadrian as his heir in 137 AD. However Aelius died before Hadrian on January 1st, 138 AD of tuberculosis. Hadrian was therefore forced to choose a new heir; Antoninus Pius.

Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre

Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre
© Carole Raddato

“Verus was a man of joyous life and well versed in letters, and he was endeared to Hadrian, as the malicious say, rather by his beauty than by his character.” Historia Augusta

If you want to learn more about Lucius Aelius, I highly recommend you read Gareth Harney’s excellent article Aelius – Forgotten Prince.

Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre © Carole Raddato

Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre
© Carole Raddato

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The Hadrianic aqueduct of Caesarea Maritima, Israel

Caesarea Maritima is perhaps one of Israel’s most famous attractions. Its ruins are located by the sea-shore of Israel about half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa. It is the site of one of the most important cities of the Roman World, the capital of the province of Judaea. The city was founded between 22 and 10 BC by Herod the Great (37-4 BC) as an urban centre and harbor on the site of the earlier Straton’s Tower. The city has been populated through the late Roman and Byzantine era. Today, Caesarea is a large and beautiful national park and a fascinating place to visit while exploring the Holy Land.

Herod the Great's palace and circus, Caesarea, Israel © Carole Raddato

Herod the Great’s palace and circus, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

The Judaean port of Caesarea had no reliable source of fresh water when construction on the city began around 22 BC. King Herod commissioned a raised aqueduct to deliver water from the springs near Shuni, 16 kilometers north-east of Caesarea Maritima. Today, the most impressive part of the Herodian aqueduct (known as the high-level aqueduct I) can be seen on the beach of Caesarea, north of the ancient city.

The high level aqueduct of Caesarea, Israel © Carole Raddato

The high level aqueduct of Caesarea built by Herod the Great, Israel
© Carole Raddato

When Hadrian visited Caesarea in 130 AD on his grand tour of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the growth of the city required additional water. Hadrian then commissioned extensive repairs and a new aqueduct to be built. This new section (known as the high-level aqueduct II) was added to the right of the first canal and doubled its capacity. These twin parallel aqueducts continued to supply water for 1200 years.

Hadrian’s improvement on the work of Herod can be seen on the beach portion of the high-level aqueduct. The following photo shows the southern end of the aqueduct where the two stages of construction are clearly visible. The east channel of the aqueduct (right) was constructed by Herod the Great while the west channel (left) was built during the days of Hadrian.

A portion of the high level aqueduct of Caesarea showing the two stages of construction are visible, Caesarea Maritima © Carole Raddato

A portion of the high level aqueduct of Caesarea showing the two stages of construction, Caesarea Maritima
© Carole Raddato

Several inscriptions have been discovered and indicate that a number of legions, or rather vexillationes (a detachment of the Legion) from these legions, took part in the building task. These inscriptions make mention of three Roman legions active in repairing the high-level aqueduct during Hadrian’s reign: five inscriptions refer to Legio X Fretensis, two to Legio VI Ferrata, one to Legio XXII Deiotariana, and another one to Legio II Traiana Fortis.

The one attached to the aqueduct close to Beit Hanania,  located about 2.8 miles north of Ceasarea, mentions the Tenth Legion (Legio X Fretensis) and comprises, on the left, of the legionary insignia (the legion’s emblem) and on the right, of a tabula ansata (table with dovetail handles) with the text “IMP CAES(ar) TRIAN HADR(ianus).”

Inscription from the High Level Aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hananya, with emblem depicting the 10th legion, Israel © Carole Raddato

Dedicatory inscription to Hadrian on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania with emblem depicting the 10th legion
© Carole Raddato

A significant portion of the Hadrianic aqueduct is still visible at Beit Hanania. West of the aqueduct’ arches is the southern side of the Herodian aqueduct, whose arches are of a different width. The aqueduct continued straight while a new one, probably built at the end of the 3rd century AD, turned left and made a large detour to Caesarea.

Dedicatory inscription to Hadrian on the High Level Aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hananya, with emblem depicting the 10th legion, Israel © Carole Raddato

Dedicatory inscription to Hadrian on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania with emblem depicting the 10th legion
© Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania © Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania
© Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania © Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania
© Carole Raddato

A few more inscriptions were uncovered on the western side of the aqueduct. One inscription refers to the Twenty-second Legion, one to the Tenth Legion, and another one to the Second Legion (click on the links to see Wikipedia images).

Additional inscriptions are displayed in several museums. One inscription in the Ralli Museum in Caesarea refers to the repairs conducted by the Sixth Legion.

Inscription of the Legio VI Ferrata from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, dated to Hadrian (ca. 130), Ralli Museum, Caesarea Wikipedia

Inscription of the Legio VI Ferrata from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, dated to Hadrian (ca. 130), Ralli Museum, Caesarea
IMP(eratori) CAES[ARI] TRA(iano) HAD(riano) AVG(usto) PER VEXIL(lationem) LEG(ionis( VI FE[R(ratae)]
Wikipedia

Another dedicatory inscription, discovered in 1927, can be seen in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The six line inscription, cut on a block of hard limestone, refers to the repairs conducted by the Tenth Legion.

Inscription discovered on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea indicating the extensive repairs conducted by the Tenth Legion, Israel Museum © Carole Raddato

Inscription discovered on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea indicating the extensive repairs conducted by the Tenth Legion, Israel Museum
“The August emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian made [the aqueduct] by [means of] the unit of the Tenth Legion Fretensis.”
© Carole Raddato

 A block of limestone with a tabula ansata and an inscription referring to the Sixth Legion is exhibited in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. The entire block is a remarkably elaborate presentation of the legion’s work on the aqueduct. The inscription is encircled by a wreath while to the left and right of the tabula ansata a winged Victoria is standing on a globe standing on a globe.

Inscription discovered in Shuni from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem © Carole Raddato

Inscription discovered in Shuni from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem
IMP(eratori) CAES[ARI] TRA(iano) HAD(riano) AVG(usto) PER VEXIL(lationem) LEG(ionis( VI FE[R(ratae)]
© Carole Raddato

A third “low-level” aqueduct was built parallel to the high-level aqueduct during the Byzantine period in order to satisfy the growing needs for fresh water. The city reached its zenith during the 4th century, with an area of about 150 hectares and a population of some 50,000. The low-level aqueduct is the largest aqueduct in Israel. It is about 5 kilometers long and 1.4 m wide and is roofed by a round barrel-vault. It remained in operation until the end of the Byzantine period (7th century AD).

The low-level aqueduct of Caesarea built the 4th century AD, Caesarea Maritima © Carole Raddato

The low-level aqueduct of Caesarea built the 4th century AD, Caesarea Maritima
© Carole Raddato

Overview of both Roman aqueducts of Caesarea Maritima: the High level aqueduct (from 1 - 6 - 8 -12) and the Low level aqueduct (7 - 12). From: Tsuk 2011

Overview of both aqueducts of Caesarea Maritima: the high-level aqueduct (from 1, 6, 8, 12) and the low-level aqueduct (7, 12)
From Tsuk 2011 (Avigdor Orgad)

Sources:

  • Touring Israel’s ancient water systems by Tsvika Tsuk (pdf)
  • romanaqueducts.info
  • The Water Supply System of Caesarea Maritima by Yaacov Olami and Yehudah Peleg (Israel Exploration Journal Vol. 27, No. 2/3 (1977), pp. 127-137)
Posted in Aqueduct, Epigraphy, Hadrian, Israel, Judaea, Roman engineering | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

It is the first day of 2015. Happy new year, everyone! Thank you to all of you for your support and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog for many more years to come!

In 2014 I was fortunate enough to explore many wonderful places; Greece, Italy, Israel and Portugal. 2015 is looking promising with archaeological trips to Sardinia, Turkey and Cyprus already planned. I have also been thinking about my Hadrian1900 project: I was born 1,900 years after Hadrian and the year 2017 will mark the 1,900th anniversary of Hadrian’s ascension as emperor. With this project I am planning to retrace Hadrian’s peregrinations chronologically, from 2017 to 2038. I have got so much to look forward to in the coming years!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

2014 in review by WordPress

The WordPress.com Team prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog Following Hadrian. I love how this report compares the number of views of my blog to the number of people seeing an exhibit at the Louvre!

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Black-and-white mosaics with geometric and floral motifs

This week’s masterpieces from Hadrian’s Villa are the black-and-white mosaics with geometric and floral motifs from the Hospitalia (guesthouse).

The Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli © Carole Raddato

The Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli
© Carole Raddato

The Hospitalia (guesthouse) was a two-storey building. It contained ten T-shaped bedrooms (cubiculae) on the first floor which were located on each side of a long and wide central hallway, at the southern end of which was a hall. Nothing survives of the second floor, which presumably mirrored the layout of the first. Each cubicula had three alcoves for three beds and was decorated with mosaics made up of a central floral section surrounded by geometric patterns (where the beds stood). The structure dates to the first phase of the villa’s construction (AD 118-125) and was most likely designed to accommodate the Praetorian Guard or the upper-class servants (liberti, priests, bodyguards, officers).

Black and white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black and white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian's Villa © Carole Raddato

Black-and-white mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Hospitalia, Hadrian’s Villa
© Carole Raddato

Source: Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project, Villa Adriana

 

Posted in Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Roman art, Roman Mosaic, Roman villa | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Statue of Antinous restored as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight (UK)

An over life-size Parian marble statue of Antinous restored as Ganymede can be admired at the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight on the Wirral (near Liverpool, UK).

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Rediscovered in the late 18th century during a revival of interest for the Classical World, the statue of Antinous was purchased in Italy in 1796 by Thomas Hope, a Dutch and British art collector, on his extensive Grand Tour through Europe, Egypt and Turkey. Thomas Hope shipped it to England to his London residence on Duchess Street where it was displayed between 1804 and 1849 alongside many other classical antique sculptures. After Hope’s death in 1831, the statue was moved to the family’s country residence in Surrey where it stood until the beginning of the 20th century. The statue was eventually bought at an auction in 1917 by the philanthropist and famous soap manufacturer Lord Leverhulme, who founded and built the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

'The Statue Gallery', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

‘The Statue Gallery’, Duchess Street, Plate 1, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

Prior to its transfer to England, the Antinous statue had been restored in Rome by the Papal sculptor Giovanni Pierantoni (who also restored the Braschi Antinous) between 1794 and 1796 and was said to had been found in Roma Vecchia (“Old Rome”). The statue was in fragmentary condition when it arrived in Pierantoni’s workshop; the lower left leg and the lower parts of both arms were missing. Pierantoni restored the missing limbs and added the cup in the right hand and the jug in the left, turning the figure into Ganymede, a young Trojan prince who was carried off to Olympus by Zeus to be his lover and cup-bearer of the gods. Both Antinous and Ganymede are legendary for their beauty and their roles as younger partners in a homoerotic relationship.

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, detail of the added jug, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, detail of the added jug, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

In the 18th century, it was common practice to add iconographical attributes to newly discovered ancient sculptures, as was allegorical portraiture (a living person depicted as a Greco-Roman god/goddess or other mythological figure) in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Antinous himself had been represented in many different divine and mythological guises such as Dionysus, Osiris, Apollo or as Silvanus.

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Around 100 portraits have been identified as Antinous, more than of any other figure from antiquity apart from Augustus and Hadrian himself. Images of Antinous were everywhere; on cameos, oil-lamps and bowls as well as colossal statues, busts and reliefs, while more than 30 provincial cities issued coinage stamped with his name and image. Nearly 2000 years later, Antinous’ beauty can still be admired in most classical collection of antiquities throughout the world.

The Lady Lever Gallery, Wirral (Liverpool) © Carole Raddato

The Lady Lever Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool © Carole Raddato

Antinous, c. AD 130-138, restored c. 1795 as Ganymede, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight
© Carole Raddato

Sources and references:

  • The myth of return: restoration as reception in eighteenth-century Rome by Jessica Hughes (pdf)
  • Sculpting Antinous by Bryan E. Burns (pdf)
Posted in Antinous, Museum, Mythology, Photography, Roman Portraiture | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Byzantine “Bird Mosaic” from Caesarea, Israel

A stunning mosaic floor referred to as the “Bird Mosaic” was uncovered by accident in 1955 on the outskirts of Caeserea in Israel, outside the walls of the ancient settlement. With no budget available for its preservation, it was covered over again until the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Director of the Caesarea Antiquities Preservation project decided in 2005 to preserve the unique find and to reveal it to the public. Lying in situ, the Bird Mosaic offers a rare glimpse into the lives of a wealthy Byzantine-era Caesarean who commissioned this ancient work of art.

6th century AD Bird Mosaic, of a large villa or mansion, Caesarea, Israel © Carole Raddato

6th century AD Bird Mosaic,that adorned the atrium of a large palace complex outside the city wall of Byzantine Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

During the excavations of 2005 archaeologists determined that the ‘Bird Mosaic’ was part of a Byzantine palace complex dating from the 6th century AD. During the Byzantine period, the harbour city of Caesarea flourished and expanded as much as 800 m inland. This palace complex, covering an area of nearly 1 acre (4,000 sq. meters), was probably owned by a reputable and wealthy family. The “Bird Mosaic” adorned the floor of a large open courtyard, the atrium, with a portico along the western and southern sides.

The wide border of the mosaic pavement portrays wild and tame animals separated by fruit trees, bordering 120 round medallions arranged in 12 rows and 10 columns.

A gazelle, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic that adorned the atrium of a large palace complex outside the city wall of Byzantine Caesarea, Caesarea Maritima, Israel © Carole Raddato

A gazelle, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A lion, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic that adorned the atrium of a large palace complex outside the city wall of Byzantine Caesarea, Caesarea Maritima, Israel © Carole Raddato

A lion, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
In Israel, lions were hunted to extinction long ago
© Carole Raddato

A leopard, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea, Caesarea The leopard, is Israel's only remaining big cat, though its future survival remains in doubt © Carole Raddato

A leopard, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
The leopard is Israel’s only remaining big cat, though its future survival remains in doubt
© Carole Raddato

A wild boar, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel © Carole Raddato

A wild boar, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A bear, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel Sadly the local lions are now extinct © Carole Raddato

A bear, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
Sadly the local bears are now extinct
© Carole Raddato

A dog and pomegranate tree, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel © Carole Raddato

A dog and pomegranate tree, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A dog, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea © Carole Raddato

A dog, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

An ibex, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea © Carole Raddato

An ibex, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A bull's head, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel © Carole Raddato

A bull’s head, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

An elephant, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea © Carole Raddato

An elephant, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A pomegranate tree, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel © Carole Raddato

A pomegranate tree, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel
© Carole Raddato

Each of the 120 medallion contains a bird, hence the name given to the mosaic. Eleven different species are represented, appearing several times, in an unusual arrangement of diagonal lines descending from right to left. Each diagonal line depicts the same bird. The birds include, flamingo, duck, peacock, partridge, guineafowl, ibis, goose, pheasant and pelican. Some other birds appear to be fanciful.

A peacock, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic that adorned the atrium of a large palace complex outside the city wall of Byzantine Caesarea, Caesarea Maritima, Israel © Carole Raddato

A peacock, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A flamingo, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A pheasant, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A duck, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A goose, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea © Carole Raddato

A goose, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A pelican, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel © Carole Raddato

A pelican, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A pelican, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Israel © Carole Raddato

A partridge, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A fanciful bird, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A guineafowl, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

A fanciful bird, detail from the 6th century AD Bird Mosaic, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

During the 2005 excavations of the Bird Mosaic, a few adjacent rooms were also exposed. These rooms are paved with mosaics with geometric and floral motifs.

Mosaic with geometric motifs, Caesarea, Israel © Carole Raddato

Mosaic with geometric motifs, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

Mosaic with geometric motifs, Caesarea © Carole Raddato

Mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

Mosaic with geometric motifs, Caesarea © Carole Raddato

Mosaic with geometric motifs, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

Fragments of other mosaic pavements as well as pieces of plaster and roof tiles were found over the intact floors of the ground level, indicating the villa was a two storey building. One room contained fragments of a dazzling glass mosaic panel glowing with gold. It is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. The nearly intact panel, also known as the “gold-glass table”, was found face down on the mosaic floor under a layer of ash and debris from the ceiling and the second floor. It is made of small glass pieces using the opus sectile technique. Experts believe the glass panel covered the surface of a wooden sigma table, burnt when the building was destroyed. The quality of its preservation is remarkable and its craftsmanship indicates Christian origins. To read more about the glass panel and see images of it, check this page.

The “Bird Mosaic Palace” is believed to have been destroyed during the Arab conquest in the 7th century.

The Bird Mosaic is located a short drive north of the Caesarea National Park. It is clearly signposted, on the way to the famous aqueduct along the beach.

Posted in Archaeology Travel, Byzantine, Byzantine Mosaic, Israel, Judaea | Tagged | 4 Comments