The Houses of Roman Italy, 100 B.C.–A.D. 250: Ritual, Space, and Decoration
In this richly illustrated book, art historian John R. Clarke helps us see the ancient Roman house "with Roman eyes." Clarke presents a range of houses, from tenements to villas, and shows us how enduring patterns of Roman wall decoration tellingly bear the cultural, religious, and social imprints of the people who lived with them.
In case studies of seventeen excavated houses, Clarke guides us through four centuries of Roman wall painting, mosaic, and stucco decoration, from the period of the "Four Styles" (100 B.C. to A.D. 79) to the mid- third century. The First Style Samnite House shows its debt to public architecture in its clear integration of public and private spaces. The Villa of Oplontis asserts the extravagant social and cultural climate of the Second Style. Gemlike Third-Style rooms from the House of Lucretius Fronto reflect the refinement and elegance of Augustan tastes. The Vettii brothers' social climbing helps explain the overburdened Fourth-Style decoration of their famous house. And evidence of remodelling leads Clarke to conclude that the House of Jupiter and Ganymede became a gay hotel in the second century.
In his emphasis on social and spiritual dimensions, Clarke offers a contribution to Roman art and architectural history that is both original and accessible to the general reader. The book's superb photographs not only support the author's findings but help to preserve an ancient legacy that is fast succumbing to modern deterioration resulting from pollution and vandalism.
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List of Illustrations
Decorative Ensembles of the Third Style 15 B C A D 45
Hadrianic and Early Antonine Decoration
Late Antonine Decorative Ensembles and
Decorative Styles from the Age of the Severans to
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aediculae alcove architectural architrave artist atrium Boscoreale Boscotrecase Casa Casa dei Vettii ceiling central picture century B.C. colonnade color columns cubiculum decorative ensembles Dionysus domus doorway east wall exedra fauces Felletti Maj FIGURE First-Style flank Fourth-Style framed frieze Ganymede garden gold Hadrianic Herculaneum House of Jupiter House of Lucretius House of Octavius house's illusionistic impluvium Jupiter and Ganymede landscape Lucretius Lucretius Fronto maenad Maiuri marble Mariette median zone Menander Mosaic Atrium motifs Muses Mysteries north wall Octavius Quartio oecus Ostia Antica owner Painted Vaults painter panels patron pattern pavement peristyle perspective Photo ICCD pilasters plaster Pompeii porphyry red quadriporticus ritual Roman Rome room's Samnite Samnite House scenes scheme Second Second-Style Severan side socle south wall spaces stucco tablinum Tapestry Manner tesserae Third Style triclinium upper zone Vettii viewer Villa of Oplontis visual axis Vitruvius wall decoration wall painting west wall Yellow Walls