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Art and architecture


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an idiosyncratic intro to Roman art & architecture

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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!