Art and architecture


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an idiosyncratic intro to Roman art & architecture

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  • Opus quadratum, from forum wall in leptis magna, with framing bands
  • Opus Quadratum, Leptis Magna, Libya – Basilica wall with plug holes for marble covering.
  • Opus incertum,khemissaalgeria
  • Opus reticulatum, from amphitheatre at Otricoli
  • Brick work, aka opus letericium, Villa Volusii, Rome (Satn’Omobono)
  • From the palatine
  • Opus africanumkhemissa,algeria
  • Opus spic floor, ostia
  • Wall at pompeii, insula 12? Sophie’s work
  • Same wall, when excavated in the 1950s. Note the plaster is all gone now.
  • Flues from bath complex at Leptis Magna, Libya
  • Basilica at Leptis Magna – lots of things going on here.
  • Excavating in Rome, what becomes the foroimperiali
  • Lavinium, 13 altars, 6th-4thcenturies; a port city in Latium, on coast halfway between ostia and anzio. One of these alters was to the dioscouri. Note soft tufa.
  • Fregella, roman town on Liri river. Sanctuary site w/ votives like this foot
  • Forum transitorium, temple of minerva, in 1535, before demolished by Paul V in 1606
  • Antoninus and faustina, roman forum
  • Herculaneum today
  • Decumanusmaximus, public fountain w reflief of supposed head of hercules, herculaneum
  • Road up up to sanctuary at Cumae, viadomitiana
  • M. NoniusBalbus
  • M nonniusbalbus on a horse
  • Amazonian, painted head, recently excavated from the herculaneum basilica
  • Inscription, herculaneum, citizens
  • Two bronze runners from the villa of the papyri, herculaneum
  • Detail from the fresco of achilles and chiron, the centaur from augusteum in herculaneum
  • Detail of arcadia in the hercules and telephus fresco from the augusteum, herculaneum
  • Nola gate, pompeii
  • Art and architecture

    1. 1. Art & Architecture
    2. 2. Or, An Awful Lot Mostly About Walls and Bricks. Thanks to Sophie Hay, award-winning photographer and archaeologist for many (if not most) of the photographs.
    3. 3. Know your walls. • Opus Quadratum – dressed ashlar masonry – By 2nd c BC Tufa blocks standardized 2x2x4 rm ft; travertine follows natural bedrock, so not standardized • Opus Incertum – 6-10cm across lumps, irregularly shaped, roughly smoothed one side to form flat outer surface. Ca 2-1 c BC.
    4. 4. • Opus Reticulatum – pyramid shaped nodules 6-12 cm sq, by 8-14 cm deep, point stuck in concrete, base forms outer facing. Quoining done in square blocks. Mid 1st c BC – late 1st c AD • Opus Mixtum – horizontal bands 1 – 3 courses of brick, at intervals, and brick replacing tufa blocks for edging – Mid 1st c AD; during 2 c reticulate gradually phased out in favour of fully brick, or block-and-brick facing
    5. 5. • Brick – isoceles triangles, point in, flat base out. Width of mortar courses can sometimes be used as diagnostic for dating, but iffy. • Opus vittatum / opera listata – block and brickwork. Alternate one or two courses of brick, one or two courses of small tufa blacks. Blocks are rectangular on outer face, but taper to the rear. Starts in 2nd c AD, very popular by 4th c AD.
    6. 6. • Opus Africanum – vertical blocks of ashlar masonry , with horizontal fill.
    7. 7. • Opus spicatum – brick or other material laid in a herringbone pattern – floors.
    8. 8. • Only marble, travertine, and peperino regularly left in natural state; everything else was covered with stucco. • Sometimes painted (red, black, yellow); sometimes moulded decorations incorporated, including imitation ashlar masonry. • Painted terracotta panels and friezes also common.
    9. 9. And now, some art.
    10. 10. Pompeian Styles, Wall Painting • First style – masonry style – 200 – 80 BC • Second Style – architectural, tromp l’oeil – 1st century BC • Third Style – ornate – symmetry, zoning – Julio-Claudian • Fourth Style – ‘baroque’ – like panels of framed pictures – 60 ish -79 AD
    11. 11. There’s an awful lot more to learn. Go forth!