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Wall paintings through the ages: the roman period—Republic and early Empire

Wall paintings through the ages: the roman period—Republic and early Empire This paper aims at presenting an overview of Roman wall painting production between late Republic and the early Empire. It will focus on the technique and style of in situ wall paintings from the Vesuvian area (Italy). Frescoes are indeed an integral part of architecture and reflect the patrons’ ambitions and social level as well as the craftsmen’s technical know-how. Since this is a handicraft product, the quality of materials, the craftsmen’s skills and the technique are fundamental to understand the fresco’s value and the message that the patron wished to communicate through the use of elaborate schemes, expensive colours or certain mythological themes. . . . . Keywords Roman wall painting Painting technique Technology Craftsmanship Pompeian styles Premise press). Three archaeological reviews on prehistoric (Domingo Sanz and Chieli 2021), Roman (This paper) and Medieval This Topical Collection (TC) covers several topics in the field (Murat 2021) wall paintings clarify the archaeological and of study, in which ancient architecture, art history, archaeolo- historical/cultural framework. A series of archaeometric reviews gy and material analyses intersect. The chosen perspective is illustrate the state of the art of the studies carried out on Fe-based that of a multidisciplinary scenario, capable of combining, red, yellow and brown ochres (Mastrotheodoros et al. 2021); Cu- integrating and solving the research issues raised by the study based greens and blues (Švarcová et al. 2021); As-based yellows of mortars, plasters and pigments (Gliozzo et al. 2021). and reds (Gliozzo and Burgio 2021); Pb-based whites, reds, yel- The first group of contributions explains how mortars have lows and oranges (Gliozzo and Ionescu 2021); Hg-based red and been made and used through the ages (Arizzi and Cultrone 2021, white (Gliozzo 2021); and organic pigments (Aceto 2021). An Ergenç et al. 2021, Lancaster 2021, Vitti 2021). An insight into overview of the use of inks, pigments and dyes in manuscripts, their production, transport and on-site organisation is further pro- their scientific examination and analysis protocol (Burgio videdbyDeLaine (2021). Furthermore, several issues 2021) and an overview of glass-based pigments (Cavallo concerning the degradation and conservation of mortars and plas- and Riccardi 2021) are also presented. Furthermore, two ters are addressed from practical and technical standpoints (La papers on cosmetic (Pérez Arantegui 2021)and bioactive Russa and Ruffolo 2021, Caroselli et al. 2021). (antibacterial) pigments (Knapp et al. 2021) provide in- The second group of contributions is focused on pigments, sights into the variety and different uses of these materials. starting from a philological essay on terminology (Becker in Introduction This article is part of the Topical Collection on Mortars, plasters and pigments: Research questions and answers The history of Roman painting is mainly a history of wall * Monica Salvadori painting. Instead, there is almost no or scarce evidence of monica.salvadori@unipd.it portable paintings on wooden panels (the Fayum mummy portraits and the pinakes—boards—from Pitsà represent pre- Clelia Sbrolli cious exceptions), or other types of support like marble, of clelia.sbrolli@gmail.com which the monochromata of Herculaneum are a famous/ paradigmatic example (Sampaolo 2009; Lenzi 2016). University of Padua, Padua, Italy 187 Page 2 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Frescoes have been found in diverse conditions, either they (Barbet 2016; Groetembril 2016). Archaeometric analyses had remained in situ, i.e. in the original context which they might contribute to studying wall paintings as well; through belonged to, or fallen in fragments following the wall’scol- such techniques, we might acquire better knowledge of pig- lapse or reused as debris in different contexts—even in land- ments, mortars and plasters, both in terms of technological, fills (Carrive 2017). economic and commercial implications (Aliatis et al. 2010; As regards in situ frescoes, the Vesuvian area (Southern Béarat et al. 1997;Becker in press). Italy) offers exemplary evidence; it has attracted great interest Thereby, putting together all the aspects of wall painting from scholars since the discovery of Pompeii and production allows to reconstruct the characteristics of the ar- Herculaneum. It has been repeatedly emphasised indeed that chitectural context, the technical know-how of the craftsmen the frescoes preserved in situ – that is, as an integral part of and the economic and social value of the paintings. the building – qualify the function of the rooms, contribute to Since this is an artisanal product (Bragantini 2004), the defining the paths of use of the building itself, and may also quality of the materials, the craftsmen’sskills and the tech- reflect the patrons’ ambitions and social level (Wallace- nique are fundamental to understand the value of the wall Hadrill 1994). Recently, it has also been observed how much painting and the message that the patron wished to communi- the typology and lexicon of the so-called Pompeian styles cate through the use of elaborate schemes, expensive colours have influenced studies in Roman painting (Bragantini or certain mythological themes. 2019). Nonetheless, it should be noted that the corpus of wall Wall paintings are indeed an instrument of personal propa- paintings found in different areas of the Roman Empire has ganda of the dominus within his own home. Such propagan- increased in recent decades; such evidence is most often frag- distic function of wall paintings thus leads to the development mentary and lacunose, difficult to fit into an overall scenario of the “styles” and the craftsmen’s technical skills, and the though (Dubois and Niffeler 2018). dissemination of models considered to be meaningful The need to improve documentation highlights the impor- (Bragantini and Sampaolo 2009;Flohr 2019). tance of collecting fragmentary paintings during archaeologi- For the sake of synthesis, within the limited space of cal excavation: great attention must be paid to recording the this paper, it is not possible to go deep into the analysis of connections between the fragments, which must be numbered, the various perspectives related to Roman wall painting. documented through photographs and by means of surveys, in For this reason, this paper will rather provide a general order to facilitate subsequent remounting. The phases of re- overview of the topic. The first part offers a brief insight covery and reassembly are extremely important because they into the ancient written sources concerning wall painting, allow to enrich a documentation that otherwise would remain while the second and third sections focus respectively on only circumstantial (Barbet 2016; Groetembril 2016). the technique of execution of the support (the laying of In order to reconstruct large portions of the painting from the different coats of plaster, their consolidation, the use its fragments, a careful analysis of the “key elements” is es- of guidelines and preparatory sketches for the basic out- sential: on the surface, it might be possible to detect the direc- line of the decorative system), and on the painting tech- tion of the brushstrokes, distinguish the streaks left by the niques and the process of finishing the paint film. brush or identify the preparatory marks (see paragraph The central part of the paper is dedicated to the concept of Sketches, outline incisions and corda battuta (chalk-line). “style” as far as it has been applied to the decorative systems On the fragments’ back, instead, it might be possible to see of Roman wall painting, offering a diachronic overview of this the traces of the wall masonry, or the expedients used to fa- production between late Republic and early Empire. It pro- cilitate the adhesion of the plaster to the roofs. In the latter vides examples of the first models of Greek derivation popular case, in fact, the negative grooves of the canes that formed the in the second-early first century BC (first style), the articulated structure to which the ceiling frescoes adhered might be of systems of perspective architectures that dominated the first great help. To recognise elaborate or partially preserved dec- century BC (second style), the fictitious ornamental systems orative motifs, the researcher uses his/her experience and typical of the Augustan age (third style), in which the figura- knowledge of ancient paintings, as if he/she “mentally tive paintings stand out against monochrome backgrounds, browses” through a corpus of images (Barbet 2016; and the eclectic creations in vogue immediately after the mid- Groetembril 2016). dle of the first century AD (fourth style), when the return of The fragments are then reassembled by placing them in unreal architectural perspectives is combined with flat back- sand boxes so that they are stable on a uniform level. Once grounds hosting “flying” figures and small paintings in the the surfaces have been recomposed, they are documented centre. graphically and photographically. When possible, a digital The last part of the article explores what were the figurative or 3D graphic reconstruction of the painting and its architec- repertoire—a key to understand the qualitative level of the tural context is also elaborated that will allow a better reading decorative systems and the ambitions of the patrons—and of both the painting and the context and facilitate the display the most fashionable models in vogue from the late Republic Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 3 of 30 187 to the early Empire, namely megalographies, mythological human body modelling and use of foreshortening images. A paintings, garden representations and landscapes. clear example are the extraordinary paintings of Vergina, such as the well-known frieze with a hunting scene in the so-called Tomb of Philip or the scene of Persephone’s abduction in the Ancient sources homonymous tomb (Brecoulaki 2006). Pliny’s pages also reveal the names of some painters who Sed nulla gloria artificum est nisi qui tabulas pinxere. worked in Rome between the Republic and the First Empire. (Plin., Nat. XXXV, 118 à XXXV, 37, 118) These names suggest that in the middle Republic painting was Pliny the Elder’s passage explicitly states that only paint- sometimes practised by members of the aristocracy. For ex- ings on wooden panels were considered the work of a true ample, in 304 BC, Fabius Pictor, a descendent of the (noble) artist; on the contrary, wall paintings, which were very popu- Fabii family, was commissioned to decorate the Temple of lar in the decoration of any house at Pliny’s time (early Roman Salus: the painter, who is also mentioned by other literary Empire), were only expressions of the house owner’sluxury authors like Cicero (Tusculanae disputationes, I, 2.4) and and wealth. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ant. Rom. XVI, 3.6), should These reflections (of Pliny) are to be taken into account have painted historical episodes from the second Samnite when analysing ancient Roman painting. war that became famous for the quality of the drawing and Book XXXV of the Naturalis Historia mentions several the use of chromatic mixtures. Much later, in the second cen- names of illustrious Greek painters, including Panaenus, the tury BC, the poet Pacuvius realised the paintings in the brother of Phidias, who painted the battle of the Athenians Temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium, dedicated by against the Persians, and Polygnotus from Thasos, who Scipio Aemilianus: it is very likely that he painted frescoes painted, among others, the Stoà poikile in Athens, Zeuxis, representing the battle of Pidna (168 BC), where the Parrhasius and Apelles, to name but the most distinguished Aemilianus fought and won against Perseus of Macedon. masters. Many of these artists’ works were brought to Rome By mentioning these artists, including also the knight as spoils of war during the Roman conquest of Greece; some Turpilius from Venetia, whose notable artworks can be seen in of them gave birth to Rome’s famous public pinacothecas Verona, Pliny emphasises that painting was seldom practised by (pictures-galleries), such as the one in the Porticus of high status citizens. The aforementioned aristocrat artists are to Octavia. Public galleries, in their turn, soon inspired to the be considered exceptions to the rules indeed, as while drawing citizens a desire of cultural appropriation and, consequently, was part of Greek aristocrat education, in the Roman world, it the development of a veritable art market. was not considered worthy of the same consideration and only Unfortunately, most paintings made on wooden panels got men of humble rank usually worked as painters. lost over the centuries. References to some of these master- During the second and first centuries BC, with the Roman pieces can be found in their copies and imitations in wall nobilitas’ growing passion for collecting Greek artworks, paintings or mosaics floors. Among all the examples, it is many Greek painters came to Rome. The Athenian painter sufficient to mention the famous mosaic in the House of the Metrodoros, for instance, who was also a notable philosopher, Faun in Pompeii representing the battle of Alexander the was called upon by L. Aemilius Paullus to realise the paintings Great against the Persians, likely a reproduction of a fourth to be paraded during his famous triumph of 167 BC. The century BC work by the painter Philoxenus of Eretria. painter Alexander Demetrios, who lived in Rome in the mid- Referring to past sources, Pliny also reports that between dle of the second century BC, was called the topographus,a the end of the fifth and the fourth century BC, Greek painters title variously interpreted either as painter of topia/places, re- fully mastered the rules of perspective and were completely ferring to the genre of landscape painting, or as painter of aware of the potential offered by the chiaroscuro.In particu- cartographic maps (La Rocca 2004). lar, the painter Apollodorus, known as the skiagraphos (i.e. Book XXXV of Pliny’s Naturalis Historia is thus an indis- the “painter of shadows”), who lived at the end of the fifth pensable source not only for understanding the development century BC extended the use of the chiaroscuro from the of Greek painting, but also for interpreting the social implica- rendering of architecture (a field already experimented by tions of Roman wall painting. Agatharchus of Samos, the painter of Aeschylus’ stage set- Book VII of the De Architectura by Vitruvius, an architect tings (Rouveret 1989) to the representation of the human active in the second half of the first century BC, is another body. fundamental reference for two reasons: first, because of the Archaeological discoveries made over the last 50 years, valuable information it provides regarding the technique of especially those relating to the cist graves and chamber tombs plastering and preparation of the pictorial surface and, second, of Macedonia, have provided evidence of the high level because it synthesises the evolution of the wall decoration reached by Greek painting during the transitional phase from systems, thereby providing an unavoidable basis for the Classical to the Hellenistic age in terms of space rendering, interpreting the “styles” of Roman painting. 187 Page 4 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 At the beginning of chapter 5 (Vitr. arch. VII 5,1), fuerunt. Quemadmodum enim potest calamus vere Vitruvius describes the wall decoration fashion trends appre- sustinere tectum aut candelabrum ornamenta fastigii ciated by the “ancients”: “Namque pictura imago fit eius quod seu coliculus tam tenuis et mollis sustinere sedens est seu potest esse, uti hominis aedificii navis reliquarumque sigillum aut de radicibus et coliculis ex parte flores rerum, e quibus finitis certisque corporibus figurata dimidiataque sigilla procreari?” similitudine sumuntur exempla. Ex eo antiqui qui initia ex politionibus instituerunt imitati sunt primum crustarum marmorearum varietates et conlocationes, deinde coronarum Preparation techniques et siliculorum cuneorum inter se varias distributiones” . Later on, the Roman architect lists more in detail the figu- How painters’ workshops were composed and organised rative elements, which in some cases are related to the char- is much debated within the scientific community; indu- acteristics of the settings (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2): “Postea ingressi bitably, they included artisans from various social back- sunt ut etiam aedificiorum figuras, columnarum et fastigiorum grounds (slaves, liberti, offreed status -Esposito 2009; eminentes proiecturas imitarentur, patentibus autem locis uti Plisecka 2011) and comprised apprentices and craftsmen exhedris propter amplitudines parietum scaenarum frontes with specific tasks. Scholars have formulated two main tragico more aut comico seu satyrico designarent, hypotheses. Some scholars have assumed that painters’ ambulationibus vero propter spatia longitudinis varietatibus workshops were composed of independent workers who topiorum ornarent ab certis locorum proprietatibus imagines were called upon to work from time to time, depending exprimentes. Pinguntur enim portus promuntoria litora on the building. Other scholars (instead) have supposed flumina fontes euripi fana luci montes pecora pastores, the existence of fixed teams of painters (Allison 1995; nonnulli locis item signorum megalographiam habentes Esposito 2009; Moormann 1995a, pp. 109; 174-175). deorum simulacra seu fabularum dispositas explicationes, Moreover, it cannot be excluded that, in the case of a non minus Troianas pugnas seu Ulixis errationes per topia, particularly demanding commission, a specific team ceteraque quae sunt eorum similibus rationibus ab rerum could be gathered together according to single workers’ natura procreata” . specific skills and expertise (Settis 2006; Esposito Lastly, Vitruvius strongly criticises the fashion trend of his 2009). Nevertheless, the complexity of some decora- own time, i.e. that emerging in the last decades of the first tions, the speed and manifold tasks required to execute century BC (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 3-4). a fresco suggest that permanent workshops of painters “Sed haec quae ex veris rebus exempla sumebantur, used to close and steady cooperation existed (Esposito nunc iniquis moribus inprobantur. Nam pinguntur 2007, 2009, 2011, 2016a, 2016b). tectoriis monstra potius quam ex rebus finitis imagines The rhythm of work was articulated by the plaster’s certae. Pro columnis enim struuntur calami, pro fastigiis drying time and required numerous craftsmen to work appagineculi cum crispis foliis et volutis, item candela- simultaneously. Each one therefore had specific roles bra aedicularum sustinentia figuras, supra fastigia earum and tasks that were based on his experience and skills surgentes ex radicibus cum volutis teneri flores habentes and worked according to a well-established practice. A in se sine ratione sedentia sigilla, non minus coliculi unique example of labour organisation is the so-called dimidiata habentes sigilla alia humanis alia bestiarum Stele of Sens (the Gallic Agedincum), dating to the sec- capitibus. Haec autem nec sunt nec fieri possunt nec ond to third century AD. This is a funerary monument representing a work scene: on the left, seated on a “For by painting an image is made of what is, or of what may be; for example, men, buildings, ships, and other objects; of these definite and circumscribed bodies, imitations are taken and fashioned in their likeness. Hence the ancients who first used polished stucco, began by imitating the “But these which were imitations based upon reality are now disdained by variety and arrangement of marble inlay; then the varied distribution of fes- the improper taste of the present. On the stucco are monsters rather than toons, ferns, coloured strips”—F. Granger, Trans. definite representations taken from definite things. Instead of columns there “Then they proceeded d to imitate the contours of buildings, the outstanding rise up stalks; instead of gables, striped panels with curled leaves and volutes. projections of columns and gables; in open spaces, like exedrae, they designed Candelabra uphold pictured shrines and above the summits of these, clusters of scenery on a large scale in tragic, comic, or satyric style; in covered prome- thin stalks rise from their roots in tendrils with little figures seated upon them at nades, because of the length of the wall , they used for ornament the varieties of random. Again, slender stalks with heads of men and of animals attached to landscape gardening, finding subjects in the characteristics of particular places; half the body. for they paint harbours, headlands, shores, rivers, springs, straits, temples, Such things neither are, nor can be, nor have been. On these lines the new groves, hills, cattle, shepherds. In places, some have also the anatomy of fashions compel bad judges to condemn good craftsmanship for dullness. For statues, the images of the gods, or the representations of legends; further, the how can a reed actually sustain a roof, or a candelabrum the ornaments of a battles of Troy and the wanderings of Ulysses over the countryside with other gable ? or a soft and slender stalk, a seated statue? or how can flowers and half- subjects taken in like manner from Nature”—F. Granger, Trans. statues rise alternately from roots and stalks?”—F. Granger, Trans. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 5 of 30 187 ladder, the redemptor (the master builder) is intent on Characteristics of tectorium and preparatory layers of consulting a scroll, which perhaps reproduces the gen- mortar eral sketch of the decoration to be transposed to the wall; below, on the right, near the scaffolding, a worker Archaeological evidence confirms what literary and icono- wearing a short tunic, probably an apprentice, is mixing graphic sources report about execution phases and craftsmens’ lime, sand and water to prepare the plaster. Above him, work so that it is possible to attribute each operation to its on the scaffolding, the tector (plasterer) is applying the executor. Plaster, or tectorium, was applied to the walls in a mixture to the wall using a float, while next to him series of successive and progressively thinner layers by crafts- another craftsman is drawing the basic lines of the dec- men called tectores, who were assisted by slaves or young oration by brush on the upper layer of plaster (infra apprentices mixing the lime. Unlike Vitruvius and Pliny’s intonachino)(Adam 1988). descriptions (recommending seven and five preparatory layers The Stele, like a freeze-frame, offers a snapshot of the respectively—Vitr. arch. VII 3, 7; Plin. nat. XXXVI, 176 à different activities underlying Roman wall painting and shows XXXVI, 50, 176), layers of tectorium documented in archae- the craftsmen and operations that are indispensable to execute ological sites generally do not have more than three or four. agood “afresco” decoration (Fig.1). They represent an exception of some contexts of imperial property though, whose decorations are particularly precious both in terms of technical execution and decorative repertoire (like the tablinum of the House of Livia on the Palatine, the Villa della Farnesina in Rome and the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta, having six layers of plaster, or the Aula Isiaca on the Palatine,presentingfour—Jacopi 2007;Vlad Borrelli 2015). The first layer of plaster, called trullissatio, was an inner plaster layer directly applied onto the surface of the wall in order to make it more regular. The arriccio (harenatus)was then laid on; it was rather coarse as well and consisted of lime mixed with sand or pozzolana and medium-sized inclusions such admixture, gravel and/or fired clay. Then, the outer plas- ter layer (intonaco) was laid on; it had finer grained aggregates consisting of marble dust or, more frequently, sparry calcite (Daniele and Gratziu 1996). The last render layer (intonachino) was then applied and painted; usually, it has the same composition of the lower layer, but its grain size is even finer. Sometimes, red pigment was added to the plaster mixture in order to optimise the surface that would be painted and calibrate the intensity of the colours (supplementary fig- ure - section of plaster fragment with pigmented intonachino). Lastly, the plaster was smoothed and polished with a flat tool similar to a spatula (liaculum), and the pigments were applied (Barbet and Allag 1972;Barbet 1998;Barbet 2000; Bianchi 2009; Esposito 2009). When a fresco decoration lacks one of these fundamental layers (arriccio, intonaco or intonachino) or has not been executed following to process described above, the result is a fairly cursory work which does not last (Vitr. arch. VII 3, 8). Plaster anchoring systems In order to facilitate the adhesion between the plaster and the surface of the wall while also avoiding detachments between the layers of the tectorium, Roman painters used various an- choring systems (Barbet and Allag 1972;Abad Casal 1982). Fig. 1 Sens stele and its graphic restitution (Donati 1998, p 105) The imprints left by such anchors on the back of the fragments 187 Page 6 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 make it possible to recognise the technique and features of the and (9) of the Caseggiato degli Aurighi in Ostia (III, wall surface. X), where during the enlargement of one of the two A frequent type of anchoring system consisted of making contiguous rooms, the old frescoes ware pecked and incisions or grooves in the damp plaster, either by hand (chev- new ones painted over them (Fig. 2c—Falzone 2007). rons/keying patterns) or using a trowel to create a geometric or Other times, probably due to lack of money or time, the herringbone pattern, as shown by the Gallo-Roman House of surface is simply repainted by applying a layer of lime- the Messii at Vaison-la-Romaine (Fig. 2a—Ling 1991). water over the old fresco, without pecking. However, Another diffuse adhesion system was spatulating, that this technique resulted in poor, low-quality decoration. is, laying on unsmoothed layers of plaster to create a With regard to the decoration of ceilings, the incannucciata rough and irregular surface and inserting ceramic frag- (reed leaves wattle) allowed to create a light but resistant an- ments in the first layer of plaster worked well too. Both chor (Vitr. arch. VII 3, 2). It was made using bundles of reeds these methods, used in combination, are attested in or other plants tied together with ropes and proved useful for room (29) of the House of M. Epidius Sabinus (IX, 1, covering both flat ceilings and vaults. 22-29) in Pompeii (Fig. 2b). The addition of fired clay The incannucciata left its imprints on the back of the plas- pieces produced an irregular surface suitable for anchor- ter (arriccio), which appear like deep parallel grooves crossed ing subsequent plaster layers indeed. The most wide- by perpendicular incisions corresponding to the bindings. The spread technique though, which was used especially analysis of these imprints makes it possible to estimate the for re-decoration works, is chiselling. It consists of diameter of the bundles of reeds and how they warped pecking the surface of a fresco to be obliterated in order (Fig. 2d). to make it rough and thus proper for a new fresco painting. This system permitted to quickly renew the Sketches, outline incisions and corda battuta (chalk- decoration of one or more rooms creating a good qual- line) ity tectorium without removing the previous layers of plaster. A clear example of this practice is represented Once the tectorium had been applied, the pictores (painters) by the successive decorative phases visible in rooms (8) laid out the design and decorative element in the wet plaster. Fig. 2 a Wall plaster with herringbone pattern, House of the Messii, Vaison-la-Romaine (France) (Ling 1991, p 198). b Spatulating and insertion of ce- ramic fragments, Casa di M. Epidius Sabinus (IX, 1, 22- 29), Pompeii (photo by author). c Pecked surface, Caseggiato degli Aurighi, Ostia Antica (photo S. Falzone). d Imprints of incannucciata, Narbonne (Capus and Dardenay 2014, p 111) Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 7 of 30 187 To draft the fundamental lines of the decoration, painters Instead, the painters who executed the huge figures of ath- often used a line-snapping technique (chalk-line): they fixed a letes and architectural features on the walls of the porticus (f) string (often soaked in ochre) to the wall with two nails and of the Palestra degli Iuvenes (VIII 2, 23) were guided by stretched and bounced it on the fresh plaster in order to imprint preliminary soot sketches. Due to the deterioration of colour vertical or horizontal guidelines (Fig. 3a). This technique was and the detachment of the paint film, it is possible to recognise also useful to trace the lines of geometric decorative systems the preliminary drawings, originally covered by successive or repetitive patterns (wallpaper/Tapetenmuster), which were layers of colour. very common in ceiling decoration (Ling 1991). Preparatory sketches drawn directly on the plaster could The most complex figurative elements instead were executed also be used as a test or model for the decorative elements to tracing over a preliminary sketch drawn on the intonachino just be executed. before applying the paint. Such drawing, similar to the Particularly striking examples are the Corinthian cap- Renaissance’s sinopia, was traced with a brush, usually in ochre ital sketched in yellow and red ochre along the south or soot, to outline the main elements of complex figurative com- wall of the cubicle (k) of the House of Ceres in positions, single figures or other decorative motifs. A remarkable Pompeii (I 9, 13-14) and the peacock feather traced in example of sinopia is the famous incomplete painting in room soot black on the northern wall of the fauces of the (12) of the House of Painters at Work (IX 12, 9) in Pompeii. In House of the Wooden Partition in Herculaneum; both the centre of zone 2, on the northern wall, it is possible to distin- these preliminary drawings were revealed due to the guish the preparatory drawings on the white background of the deterioration and fall of the paint film, which laid bare plaster; made with a brush soaked in an ochre pigment, they were the intonachino (PPM II). used to sketch the people in a crowd (Esposito 2016a). The lower In the first case, the capital being larger and out of portions of at least two male figures can be recognised; the both alignment as compared to the other capitals painted in of them are wearing short tunics and are advancing from right to the room, it might be argued that it was a test sketch left towards a seated female figure. The woman is draped in a the pictor made when setting up the decorative parti- long robe; the sketches of its soft folds are detectable as tions in order to define their shape and size (Fig. 3c). In well (Fig. 3b). the second case, instead, the feather seems to have been a Fig. 3 a Imprint of chalk-line, Sarno Baths (VIII 2, 17), Pompeii (photo by author). b Sinopia, Casa dei Pittori al Lavoro (IX 12, 9), Pompeii (photo A. Malgieri). c Preparatory sketches, Casa di Cerere (I 9, 13-14), Pompeii (PPM II, p 223) 187 Page 8 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 reference model for the correct execution of the decorative Painting techniques motif that would be realised in the frieze. Along with sinopias, preparatory incisions were common Affresco, mezzo-fresco, a secco, surface treatment as well. These preliminary sketches were engraved on the wet and finishing plaster using a sharp tool and could be executed either free- hand or using rulers and squares (direct incisions), depending Drawing on Vitruvius and Pliny, Roman wall painting has on the decorative element to be reproduced (Fig. 4a), or by traditionally been thought to be entirely “afresco” (Vitr. arch. tracing over a model (indirect incisions). For designing circu- VII; Plin. nat. XXXV). However, archaeological evidence lar or semi-circular motifs, painters used compasses, whose shows ancient pictores that were well versed in the timing mark is easily recognisable from the perfect circumference and practices of fresco painting using different techniques and the hole in the centre of it (Fig. 4b). Indirect incisions, for the various phases of the wall decoration (Vitr. arch.VII on the other hand, are characterised by clear, rounded contours 3, 8: “Itaque tectoria, quae recte sunt facta, neque vetustatibus and regular, continuous mark; they are particularly useful for fiunt horrida neque, cum extergentur, remittunt colores, nisi si outlining the shape of a figure or defining figurative details parum diligenter et in arido fuerint inducti. cum ergo ita in (Malgieri 2013; Salvadori et al. 2015)(Fig. 4c). parietibus tectoria facta fuerint, uti supra scriptum est, et Fig. 4 a Incisions, Palestra degli Iuvenes (VIII 2, 23), Pompeii (photo C. Boschetti). b Mark of compasses, Casa I E/F, Hellenistic-Roman quarter, Agrigento (Lepore, Caminneci 2019). c Preliminary sketch of a griffon, Casa della Fontana Piccola (VII 8, 23), Pompeii (Ling 1991, p 203) Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 9 of 30 187 firmitatem et splendorem et ad vetustatem permanentem completed (Fig. 5). The tector prepared and laid on the virtutem poterunt habere.” )(Barbet 1998;Barbet 2000; tectorium, and the pictores parietarii drew the decoration’s Esposito et al. 2011). compositional lines on the plaster and began to apply the Frescoing consists of applying colours thinned in water “a colours of the background. When creating complex decora- fresco” directly over damp plaster, while in drying, the plaster tions or painting large rooms, the craftsmen worked in zones “incorporates” the colours, creating a compact and resistant and applied as much plaster as required by the amount of work film of calcium carbonate. This process, called lime carbon- they thought they would complete in a day. On the frescoed ation, is caused by the reaction between the plaster’sslaked wall, it is possible to detect both the giornate (working days), lime and the air’s carbon dioxide (Ca(OH) +CO = CaCO + namely the daily layers of plaster which correspond to the 2 2 3 H O). Evaporation of water from the plaster mixture causes vertical breaks in the decoration or to the outline of complex calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH) ) to migrate towards the surface figurative elements, and the pontate (scaffoldings), the hori- of the wall and, after crossing the paint film, react with carbon zontal breaks corresponding to the position of the scaffolding. dioxide (CO ) and form calcium carbonate (CaCO ) (Vlad Generally, the pontata coincides with the transition between 2 3 Borrelli 2015). The fresco technique therefore makes it possi- two zones (between zone 1 and zone 2 or between zone 2 and ble to create wall paintings that are stable and long-lasting. In zone 3) and was cleverly masked through the elements of the order for this to happen, however, decorations are to be decoration, such as cornices, friezes or predellas. painted very quickly on damp plaster. Coarse or defective Once the pictores parietarii (wall painters) had drawn the painting on a nearly dry plaster leads to a progressive deteri- decoration’s outline and painted the simplest elements (archi- oration of the fresco, which tends to flake off while the colours tectural motifs, repertoire, etc.), the pictor imaginarius (figure lose their intensity. painter) executed the most demanding and complex represen- In order to complete the details of the decoration on an tations. He was the most skilled craftsman of the team and was almost completely dry wall, craftsmen used the a secco or in charge of painting large human figures or mythological mezzo-fresco techniques. In the first case, overpaintings scenes in the centre of the walls, using templates and sketch- (sovradipinture) of pigments mixed with different types of books to imitate famous models inspired from great easel organic binders were added once the plaster was completely paintings (Eristov 1987;Varone 1995). dry. In the second case, the carbonation process was Panel pictures could be executed either in the pain- reactivated using a “lime painting” technique, that is, mixing ters’ workshop or directly in situ. The paintings pro- the pigments with slaked lime or limewater (Mora and duced elsewhere were mounted on wooden frames Philippot 1999; Piovesan et al. 2012). which were then set into the wall (picturae excisae Once all the details of the decoration had been completed, Vitr. arch. II 8, 9; abaci...ligneis formis inclusi Vitr. the wall was smoothed (politiones) to compact all the layers of arch. II 8, 10; excisum opus tectorium Plin nat. colour and make the painted surface shiny. XXXV, 154 à XXXV, 45, 154 and 173 à XXXV, 49, Vitruvius and Pliny also report that walls painted using 173). This is the case, for instance, of the painting with cinnabar pigment were then subjected to waxing procedures. Cupids at work found in House V, 18 in Herculaneum For a long time, this evidence has led to the theory that ancient (Maiuri 1938, 1940) inserted into a box approximately paintings were encaustic paintings (Schiavi 1957-1958, 2 cm deep, or of the paintings with Dionysian subjects 1961). The two Latin authors actually advised to apply wax with wooden frames in the walls of the hall (16) of the to walls painted using cinnabar because they were aware of House of M. Lucretius Fronto in Pompeii (V 4, a). the instability of this pigment, which turns black when ex- “Negative evidence” of the presence of such framed posed to light (Sampaolo 2009). wooden panels are instead the empty slots “saved” for later setting paintings in the atrium (24) of the Praedia of Iulia Felix (II4,3)and in thesalon (q)ofthe House Pontate (“scaffoldings”)/giornate (“working days”) of the Vettii (VI 15, 1) (Salvo 2018). On the other hand, in order to realise such paintings directly in situ, Wall paintings were executed top-down in order to prevent the pictor imaginarius laid on the intonachino over the mortar or colour from damaging the decoration already portion of the wall that had been spared on purpose by the pictores imaginarii during the plastering and execut- ed the painting. In this case, a slight undercutting can be seen around the perimeter of the painting. “Stucco, therefore, when it is well made, does not become rough in lapse of These examples and the retrieval of work tools and cups time, nor lose its colours when they are dusted, unless they have been laid on with pigments in some of Pompeii’s buildings (House I 9, 8- carelessy and on a dry surface. When, therefore, stucco has been executed on 10; Taberna Attiorum IX 2, 11-12 - Esposito 1999;Borgard walls in accordance with these instructions, it will retain its firmness and brilliance and fine quality”—F. Granger, Trans. et al. 2003) are evidence to the existence of places used as 187 Page 10 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Fig. 5 Schematic partition of the wall (Salvadori et al. 2015, p 53) painters’ workshops or studios, where they could execute undergoing a renovation when the Vesuvius erupted (in 79 paintings in wooden boxes, store their tools or prepare the AD), and in room (12), it is possible to see the different stages colours to take to their work site (Esposito 2009). of the work when this was still in progress before being sud- That the pictor imaginarius was of a higher status was also denly interrupted by the volcano. Zone 2 and zone 1 are in- legitimised in antiquity by the Edictum de pretiis rerum complete indeed (Fig. 7)(Varone 1995;Varone and Béarat venalium issued by Diocletian in 301 AD (an edict aimed at 1997). fixing the prices of various goods and services). Probably, two or three apprentices were preparing the Ed. de pretiis 7 (de mercedibus operariorum) mixture for the tectorium, while at least three or four 8 Pictori parietario ut supra diurni denarios septuaginta painters were completing the decorations of zones 1 and quinque 2. Along the eastern wall, some architectural views were 9 Pictori imaginario ut supra diurni denarios centum about to be executed, as suggested by preparatory draw- quinquaginta. ings made in yellow ochre and incisions. Moreover, on The edict states that the pictor imaginarius was paid twice the eastern side of the southern wall, some a secco (150 denarii per day) the pictor parietarius (75 denarii per paintings (sovradipinture) were in progress. In the day) and the other workers in the workshop (Polichetti 2001; north-western corner, the intonachino had just been laid Plisecka 2011). on to apply the black background colour. A pictor As far as these artisans’ tools are concerned, pictores and imaginarius was working on a mythological painting tectores used various instruments. The basic equipment in the centre of the northern wall: he had already made consisted of a mason’s trowel (trulla) and float (liaculum) the sinopia and was beginning to spread the colour for applying and smoothing the plaster, a chalk-line, sharp (Esposito 2016a). Thevertical joints visibleinzone2 tools for incising preliminary sketches on the wet coat, indicate that the elaborate architectural perspectives had brushes (penicillus) of various sizes, mainly made of pig bris- been completed by a painter who was more experienced tles, a plumb bob, rule and line, a set square, compasses and than the one who had executed the simple monochrome cups and amphoras’ fragments for containing and diluting the panels in the middle zone (Varone 1995; Varone and pigments (Ling 1991;Ling 1999;Donati 1998;Barbet and Béarat 1997; Esposito 2016a) Allag 2000)(Fig. 6a, b). Two sets of small bowls containing pigments were found in The most sensational archaeological evidence of how a the room, that confirms that the work was carried out by fresco was executed is room (12) of the House of the several hands simultaneously (Bragantini and Sampaolo Painters at Work (IX 12, 9) in Pompeii. The house was in fact 2009,p. 30). Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 11 of 30 187 Fig. 6 a Cups with Egyptian blue (Pompeii MANN inv. n. 117338) and red ochre (Pompeii MANN inv. n. 112265). b Plumb bob (Pompeii MANN inv. n. 76661), compasses (Pompeii, IX 8,7) MANN inv. n. 118226) and set square (Vesuvian area MANN inv. n. 76689) (Donati 1998 pp 201-206) Fig. 7 Casa dei Pittori al Lavoro (IX 12, 9), Pompeii, room (12) east wall (Esposito 2016a, p 178) 187 Page 12 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Decorative schemes decorated with refined ornaments—their mythological themes suiting the atmosphere of the new political order. This change The styles of Roman painting and Mau’s theory in houses’ interior decoration is closely related to the changed political and social conditions, to which the craftsmen seem to Chapter V of the book VII of Vitruvius’ De Architectura has offer a concrete response. represented a fundamental reference for the chrono- The first half of the first century AD, a widening social typological classification of the paintings that have come to class being able to afford decorative and figurative systems light in Pompeii and, more in general, in the area buried by the for their houses, saw the development of the fourth style, or eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This classification was last style in A. Mau’s nomenclature. developed by the German archaeologist August Mau at the The decorative choices during Nero’s Principate (54–68 end of the nineteenth century (Mau 1882). AD), characterised by the richness of the materials employed Basing on decorative schemes, coating techniques and fig- in the wall coverings (especially in the use of marble slabs), urative subjects, Mau codified four “styles” termed as (1) in- lead to a loss of interest in wall painting among patrons at the crustation style, (2) architectural style, (3) ornamental style highest level of the social hierarchy and, consequently, to the and (4) last style. Although successive revisions have been disappearance of a coherent and shared repertoire. imposed by the development of studies in Roman wall paint- While the general approach of Mau’s study can still be ing, today Mau’s reconstruction is still substantially valid accepted from many points of view, research has advanced (Bragantini 2014). in the last 30 years. Today, archaeological evidence is inves- First, his chrono-typology considers Pompeian painting as tigated not only in terms of formal aspect, but also in terms of an artistic phenomenon strongly conditioned by technique semantic content, which proves the social imagery linked to (i.e. the fresco, which requires rapid execution) and precise choices of the patrons (see synoptic table). craftsmanship. Second, Mau’s approach highlights the link between wall painting and architectural context and emphasises its “archi- First style (“incrustation”) and its antecedents: tectural function”. Starting from the art-historical perspective masonry style, “zero” style typical of his days, he ends up to propose an archaeological reconstruction, that is, he refers to the characteristics of the The so-called first style or “incrustation style” in Roman archaeological contexts. painting, documented from the middle of the second century The decorative repertoire of the so-called styles is varied by BC, is usually interpreted as an “Italic version” of the so- the craftsmen as to meet the precise requests and needs of the called masonry style or Greek masonry style (Hinks 1933; patrons. It is worth noting that Mau uses the term “system”, Bruno 1969). This aims at reproducing using painted plaster which, in recent times, has been considered to be more appro- and stucco the architectural elements and ornamental features priate as it expresses more clearly the link between the mate- of the opus quadratum—what suggests a clear inspiration by rial (the wall painting), the architectural context and the the construction models of the classical period. craftwork’s function, which mirrors the needs of the patrons The earliest known evidence of masonry style is in Greece (Salvadori 2012). and dates probably to the end of the fifth century BC, as In reconstructing the evolution of Roman wall painting, proved by the stucco and plaster fragments found during the Mau highlights the importance of the phase between the end archaeological excavations in the agora of Athens, of a build- of the second century and the first century BC, when a crucial ing of unclear interpretation, dating at least to the last decade change in houses’ decoration fashion trends occurs that re- of the fourth century BC (Bruno 1969; Guldager Bilde 1993). sponds to the changes in Roman society, now strongly influ- Since the end of the fourth century BC, this system of wall enced by the conquest of Greece and Asia Minor. This leads to decoration spread out widely both in public complexes and the abandonment of the stucco relief typical of the first style in luxury private houses. In the last 30 years, the increase of favour of the exclusive use of frescoes. Complex decorative available documentation has allowed to identify the iteration systems with illusionistic architectures (inspired to Hellenistic of a series of architectonical elements like plinths, orthostats, models) spread out in the houses of the members of the rows of ashlars and cornices, within a wide range of solutions. nobilitas and characterise the large state rooms: this is the These elements were shaped in stucco so as to stick out from so-called second style. the wall and recall the architectonical elements’ structural With the establishment of the Principality of Augustus (27 function. BC–14 AD), the decorative and figurative language of the This attention to the mimetic rendering of the wall’sthree- second style is abandoned in favour of a sober and “classicis- dimensional elements, which has suggested to someone to tic” system. In the third style, or ornamental style, large figu- refer the invention of this decorative system to architects rath- rative paintings stand out against monochrome walls er than painters (Bruno 1969), is combined with an attention Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 13 of 30 187 to chromatic contrasts, obtained by combining monochrome tendencies fluctuating between the masonry style and the Stile backgrounds with panels imitating precious marble. a Zone, i.e. the tendency to organise the wall into horizontal With reference to public buildings, emblematic is the dec- sectors in contrasting colours and the desire to reproduce an oration of the hall of the Hieron of Samothrace (Greece), isodomic wall, also by using stucco to render the projecting mainly dating to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. parts. According to P. W. Lehmann’s reconstruction (Lehmann Paradigmatic is the reconstruction of the wall of the so- 1969), the series of black-painted orthostats covering the low- called House of the Coloured Plaster in Pella (Macedonia), er part of the wall and crowned by a red band with black veins dating to the late third century BC (Fig. 8a). The surface of were overlapped by alternating rows of wide and narrow red the wall is divided into two parts (Pontrandolfo 2002). In the and white ashlars with red veins, bordered at the top by a lower part, a closed wall with orthostats, ashlars and jutting jutting frame. cornices is reproduced with a balanced colour scheme (white, In the upper part of the wall, the inclusion of a further level red, blue and yellow). Instead, the upper part features a three- consisting of a loggia of small Doric pillars sticking out over a dimensional balustrade with a portico modelled in stucco and row of marble-like panels is an innovative solution. Its aim is open towards a fictitious outdoor space rendered through to produce an illusionistic effect. Two examples can be found monochrome blue panels. This evidence proves that the ma- in Delos in the House of the Comedians and the House of sonry style achieved a more sophisticated elaboration in Dionysus (Bezerra de Meneses 1970), where in the gaps be- tween the stucco pilasters a coffered ceiling painted in per- spective along the upper edge is reproduced. Another example in the Vesuvian area is provided by the first style decorative system of the Casa Sannitica in Herculaneum (late second century BC to early first century BC, atrium), where the series of semi-columns is connected to a protruding balustrade with crossed laths in the upper area (Guidobaldi and Esposito 2012). While the example of the Hieron of Samothrace is evi- dence of a mature use of the masonry style in a public build- ing, the evidence relating to domestic buildings in the late Classical period testifies to a rather basic approach. In this regard, the wall decoration of the houses in the city of Olinto (Greece) (Robinson and Graham 1938), founded in 432 BC and destroyed by Philip of Macedonia in 348 BC, is very significant. In most rooms, which seem to have no wall paintings, the use of hydraulic plaster is documented in the bathrooms, while monochrome and polychrome plaster cov- erings are only attested in important rooms such as the andron (men’s room) and the pastas (long porch or room fronting more than one other room) (Bruno 1969). The houses of Olinto document two main decoration types. The first one is very simple and consists of uniform mono- chrome panels (white, beige and, in the best cases, red), while the second type is characterised by a chromatic bipartition between the plinth, that is most often white, and the middle area of the wall, which is usually red. Besides those types, a third one is documented that presents an additional zone be- tween the base and the median area, often rendered in a con- trasting colour or simply separated by an incised line. Rather than the masonry style, the walls of Olinto lacking any real projecting elements are ascribed to the so-called Stile a Zone (zone style). The evidence of domestic decorative systems dating from the end of the fourth century BC to the third century BC is still Fig. 8 a House of the Colored Plaster, Pella (Baldassarre et al. 2002 p limited; nonetheless, the few evidence refer to this phase show 69). b Casa Sannitica, Herculaneum (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, p 59) 187 Page 14 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Macedonia’s domestic spaces, as well as in funerary As for the Italian peninsula, the Stile a Zone and/or mason- monuments. ry style is documented by the fully mature evidence in Apulia The successful development of the masonry style in the (Italy). Residential buildings dating as early as the end of the eastern Mediterranean is clearly documented by the wall fourth to beginning of the third century BC present decorative paintings in the houses of the Greek sixth century settlement systems characterised by, from bottom to top, low bases, rows of Panticapeo (today Kerč, in Crimea), dating to the second of jutting orthostats, horizontal bands, sectors with marbling century. In one of the houses discovered on Mount and cornices moulded in polychrome stucco (ovolo, kymatia, Mithridates, the wall decorations are very elaborate. palmette). The so-called Montarozzi house and the context of Horizontal bands in the form of kymatia (moulding), vegetal San Vito di Salpi (both in Apulia) are emblematic featuring, friezes and cornices with meanders and denticles, either plas- according to the description made at the time of the discovery tically modelled or just painted, sit on top of rows of (Marin 1964), the usual overhanging elements and an upper orthostats, with projecting edges variously rendered in yellow, register decorated with semi-columns and a Doric frieze. red and black to imitate polychrome marble coverings As regards houses’ wall ornament in the Roman-Italic area, (Rostovtzeff 2003 [1913-14]). important data come from the latest surveys in the Regio VI of In the western Mediterranean area, significant archaeolog- Pompeii (Pesando 2011), where the mid-Republic decorations ical records have been found in Sicily (Italy). In Morgantina reveal remarkable similarities with those of the Etruscan-Italic simple wall decorations are documented whose chronology is and Campanian tombs of the late fourth and early third cen- uncertain, oscillating between the middle of the third century turies BC. The decorative systems of the Protocasa del BC to the middle of the second century BC (La Torre 2011). Centauro (VI 9, 3-5), for instance, comprised a high mono- There are monochrome bases (red, white, blue or brown) and, chrome base (yellow or red) extending approximately for two above them, a horizontal band painted in a contrasting colour thirds of the wall or even more, crowned by a frieze with a and two or three rows of blocks with incised margins imitating stylised sea wave. The upper part of the wall had no decorative coloured or veined marble surfaces, closed along the upper elements; it seems to have featured nothing but white back- margin by stucco frames. ground, while in many funerary contexts this part of the wall The absence of orthostats in the lower part of the wall usually hosts figurative motifs. suggests to refer these systems to the Stile a Zone. The wall The definition of Stile Zero has been proposed drawing on decorations of the houses in block II of Heraclea Minoa (dat- similarities with tombs’ decorative systems, including the ing between the end of the fourth century and the second half tomb of Ardea (in the south of Rome—Torelli and of the third century BC—De Miro 1966;La Torre 2011), in Marcattili 2010), which is particularly close in style, and find Lilybaeum (Casa via Sibilla—Griffo 2008) and in Finziade a comparison in Pompeii’s house I, 5, 2, which dates to the (today Licata) are to be ascribed to this system as well. end of the fourth century BC (Brun 2008). Stile Zero is the In particular, the decorative systems of Licata’sHouse 1 style of the prestigious rooms of Campania’saristocratic seem to suit and reflect different functions of the rooms, dating houses—asortof “national” style of Etruscan origin, as sug- between the end of the third century and the first decades of gested by M. Torelli—whose origin seems to be contempo- the second century BC (La Torre 2011). The rooms at the rary with that of the masonry style in Greece. The zero style is ground floor, arranged around a central courtyard, present an characterised by a bipartition of the wall into a high socle and essential decoration in stucco to be referred to the Stile a Zone an upper area and by the preference for a plane structure with- (red base and white middle zone framed at the top in moulded out any frames or relief elements. stucco ). The rooms of the so-called piano nobile (principal Overall, the masonry style includes some variations that floor) instead should have been decorated with a more elabo- can be considered characteristic of the first style, introduced rate system, a sort of simple masonry style, with rows of into the Italic peninsula. With the introduction of a high base overhanging blocks and linear cornices but also kymatia in between the plinth and the orthostats, the illusion of a real wall polychrome stucco, sometimes in association with painted with regular and squared elements gets lost. The base looks friezes with floral motifs. A step forward is documented by like empty and meaningless since, being inserted underneath the peristyle house of Monte Iato, featuring polychrome the orthostats, these are thus deprived of their “supporting” marble-like orthostats that are rather typical of the so-called function and reduced to purely decorative elements. Painters first style. The vast extension and decorative complexity of the working in the Italic context created a new type of wall dec- building as compared to the simpler courtyard houses of oration essentially leveraging its own ornamental effects but Licata testify to the emergence of a new aristocratic class far from the constructive principles of the masonry style around the middle of the second century BC. This phenome- whose repertoire of forms and motifs modelled in stucco it non was largely encouraged by the development opportunities still inherited. (including cultural development opportunities) underscored This is a severe style, inspired by ancient Greek paintings, by the establishment of the Roman Province of Sicilia. very close to the Roman concepts of gravitas and mos Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 15 of 30 187 maiorum (cult of the ancestors). Indeed, in some Pompeian decoration is known as second style or architectural style houses’ rooms, wall paintings in the first style were preserved according to Mau’s terminology. even in buildings that underwent a refurbishment at a time Due to its early date, an extremely relevant evidence is that when this style had already gone out of fashion. This conser- of the Casa dei Grifi on the Palatine (Rome), discovered in vation choice is quite common in the fauces (the entrance 1912 by G. Boni during his explorations of the Domus Flavia. corridor), where first style decorations were usually preserved The domus’ name, due to G.E. Rizzo, is inspired by the stucco as evidence of the domus’ antiquity. Paradigmatic is the case decoration on the lunette of one of the two preserved rooms. of the Casa Sannitica in Herculaneum (late second century Basing on building techniques, the first structure of the house BC), where the fauces (Fig. 8b), the atrium (hall) and the has been dated to the last decades of the second century BC; tablinum (large room at the rear of the atrium) had maintained the wall decoration underwent later transformations around the original impressive first style decorations despite the gen- 90–80 BC. The original decoration system comprises a series eral renovation of the paintings in the other rooms. In partic- of painted Corinthian columns resting on pedestals rendered ular, the large atrium’s superior register is decorated with an in perspective occupying the central area of the wall and scan- impressive stuccoed loggia of ionic half columns connected ning a sequence of alabaster and porphyry-like panels and through a crisscross balustrade (Mols 2005;Guidobaldi and others with a pattern of cubes in isometric perspective Esposito 2012). (Fig. 9a). Theupper part is characterisedbyanashlar The most remarkable example, however, is that of the Casa masonry and architectonical cornices that look like stick- del Fauno (VI 12,2) in Pompeii, one of the city’smost ancient ing out of the wall (Rouveret 2002b). The palette is dom- and distinguished residences, extending over an entire insula inated by a bright cinnabar red conferring the overall dec- for 2970 m (PPM V). Some of the house’s “state rooms”’s oration vivid chromatic effects; this colour choice also first style wall decorations remained untouched from the last reflects the ambition and luxury characterising the wall decades of the second century BC to the eruption of Vesuvius coverings themselves and suit the concrete materiality of in 79 AD, when they were still thought to add to the house’s the painted elements. prestige. Particularly interesting is the entrance vestibule Early evidence of second style are documented also in (fauces), whose coloured marble-like decorations were visible northern Italy, namely in the four halls of the late from the street without neither crossing the doorway. The Republican sanctuary of Brescia (Bianchi 2014). The elabo- panels in the middle zone are to simulate precious alabaster; rate wall decorations are conceived as closed surfaces and nonetheless, their mottled pattern and lithotypes do not exist in correspond to two different schemes. The best preserved one nature. On the upper part of the wall, four small Corinthian is that of room 4: the base features a richly curled velarium columns rest on protruding corbels in front of an illusionistic (drapery), while the middle section presents a series of rectan- façade with a monumental portal in the centre that evokes a gular polychrome pseudo-marble panels separated by bright temple. After crossing the fauces, the guest could then enter red pilasters. The transition to the upper zone is marked by a the large atrium, which was also embellished with first style cornice with perspective meanders, above which is a decorations, the upper register suggesting a sort of second **fictious ashlar masonry. This scheme is further enriched floor through a blind gallery with ionic stucco semi-columns. by the replication of ionic column from which the wall looks The entire layout of the house reveals the adoption of a like being positioned backword. This is an extremely high “Greek” lifestyle. Luxury and pleasure could be associated quality decoration whose value is further enriched by the with the evocation of the heroic deeds of great leaders, as heads of Medusa in the perspective meandering frame, which suggested by the presence of the above-mentioned mosaic of find comparisons in some Hellenistic houses on the island of the Battle of Alexander against Darius (Pesando 1996; Delos, and by the motif of the velarium, which occurs also in Zevi 1998). some second style wall paintings in Pompeii (e.g. Casa del Fauno, Casa di Cerere, Casa del Labirinto), but also in Sicily (Catania, Centuripe) (Baggio and Salvadori 2017). Second style (“architectural-illusionistic”) Also the “closed” surfaces of panels scanned by columns or pilasters are characteristic of a considerable amount of wall Around the last decades of the second century BC, there was a paintings from the Vesuvian area that refer to the first phase of radical transformation in Roman wall painting technique. The the second style. Later on, the upper part of the wall begins to first style’s repertoire of three-dimensional architectonical extend towards an imaginary exterior by means of arches or elements, marble slabs and frames modelled in stucco small frontons open onto outdoor spaces where the top of began to rather be painted on the wall in an illusionistic sacred buildings emerges against the blue background of the manner by playing with light and shadows, what proves sky. The back wall of cubicle (16) (bedroom) of the Villa dei Roman wall painters’ impressive execution skills Misteri in Pompeii (Fig. 9b), famous for its megalography, provides a very clear example of a perspective effect (Mulliez 2014; Beyen 1960). This new system of wall 187 Page 16 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Fig. 9 a Casa dei Grifi, Rome. b Villa dei Misteri, Pompeii, cubiculum (16). c Villa of P. Fannius Synistor,Boscoreale, cubiculum (M) (Mazzoleni, Pappalardo, Romano 2004, p 67, 104, 81) articulated through four levels of deepness. The illusion is middle area of the walls and create a fine effect by mixing further emphasised by the relatively small size of the room natural and architectonical elements which seem to evoke as compared to the large reception rooms. sumptuous palaces or villas. From the fourth decade of the first century BC, the com- The close similarity between these trompe-l’oeil architec- positions gradually become more varied. Podiums, colon- tures and real theatrical scenography has been subject to nu- nades and architectural structures rendered in perspective kind merous considerations by scholars (Tybout 1989). If it is un- of “break through” the wall, beyond which further architec- doubtedly true that the scaenographia (the backdrop of a the- tural or landscape spaces “become visible”. atrical stage) constituted a highly experimented pictorial genre Paradigmatic of such a “deception” is the famous in the ancient world, it is more difficult to understand what cubiculum (M) of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor in meaning Roman patrons attributed to such decorations in the Boscoreale (Naples) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in context of their private life. One aspect seems to have been New York (Fig. 9c). Here, a scenography-like set opens onto accepted that is the desire to simulate regal architecture a series of urban and rustic panoramas arranged symmetrically through theatrical spaces. in both sides of the room. This is likely the concrete transpo- In the final part of his famous text concerning wall painting sition of Vitruvius’ passage devoted to the three types of frons in late Republican, Vitruvius focuses on two pictorial genres: scaenae: tragic, comic and satirical (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2). The topia and megalographiae (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2). The topia are illusionistic spaces “beyond the room” occupy the entire early forms of landscape painting inspired by the development Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 17 of 30 187 of a landscape aesthetics in the Hellenistic period, of which the hunting scenes of the façade of Philip’s Tomb in Vergina (last decades of the fourth century BC) are one of the earliest ex- amples. The megalographiae are large-scale representations of noble subjects, mainly inspired by mythical stories and characters or connected to the Greco-Roman cultural tradition and in particular to the events narrated by Homer (the author of the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey). The most famous ex- amples of megalography are in the Villa dei Misteri in Pompeii and the Villa of Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale men- tioned above. The understanding of these two large friezes raises a number of interpretative questions which we ought better to deal with in the paragraph dedicated to megalographiae. Instead, it is worth dwelling here on the remarkable Pompeian example of the Casa del Criptoportico (I 6, 2-16). The wall paintings adorning the walls of the underground portico, executed around 40–30 BC, show a paratactic se- quence of dark red monochrome panels marked by pilasters in the shape of male and female hermae placed on pedestals and supporting the stucco frames at the top of the wall. Above the panels, between the heads of the hermae, runs a frieze depicting episodes from the Iliad (Fig. 10a). The episodes succeed one another in a clockwise direction beginning from the entrance of the cryptoporticus through the whole U-shaped room. The narration starts from the episode of the plague sent by Apollo upon the Achaeans’ camp, followed by those of the exchange of weapons between Diomedes and Glaucus (the identification is confirmed by the names that label each char- acter in all the scenes) and the duel between Diomedes and Aeneas. The frieze’s episodes do not follow Homer’snarra- Fig. 10 a Frieze narrating episodes from the Iliad, Casa del Criptoportico tion, the two scenes with Diomedes being reversed as com- (I 6, 2-16), Pompeii (photo by author). b Villa della Farnesina, Rome pared to the Iliad. Among the other numerous episodes cubiculum (B) (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, p 211) depicted in the frieze, that of the Thetis delivering Achille’s weapons made by Ephestus training of Achilles’ weapons by Hephaestus is worth mentioning. Thetis, engrossed in her thoughts, is depicted in a corner of the picture, according to The epic scenes, today on view at the Vatican Museums, were once arranged along the upper part of a circa 5.50 m high wall, an iconographic scheme that is completely different from that, more diffuse, of the Nereid looking at the fate of her son, whose middle zone was marked by a sequence of black mono- chrome panels and red-painted pillars in the foreground. As in reflected in Hephaestus’ shield. Not only does this frieze reveal the patrons and artists’ high the Casa del Criptoportico, the Homeric scenes occupied the upper band of the wall and resemble a continuous frieze con- cultural status, but it is also an evidence of a combination of different literary traditions. The last scenes include the arrival stituting an imaginary space beyond the room. The characters, of the Amazons, the subsequent duel between Achilles and identified by some inscriptions in Greek, are reduced to small figures in wide and bright landscapes with steep rocks, sea- Penthesilea and the final escape of Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius indeed, which are no longer taken from the Iliad, shores and trees. The episodes accurately illustrate the Homeric poem and seem to focus mainly on the events that but from the so-called cyclical poems (which dealt with the Homeric heroes and other minor heroes’ adventures in the should have happened along the Italic coasts, including when Ulysses came to the land of the Laestrygones, the cannibal aftermath of the war) (Bragantini 1990). Another extraordinary example of what Vitruvius defines giants, his arrival at Circe’s palace and his journey in the afterlife. With this frieze, the house owner was able to as Ulixis errationes per topia (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2), i.e. Ulysses’ journey from place to place, is that of the portico of display his fascination with the Homeric tales to his the Domus of via Graziosa in Rome (mid-first century BC). guests, who could play with their fantasy and imagine 187 Page 18 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 the adventures of the ancient heroes as they contemplated drastically reducing the presence of any architectural ele- the lively landscapes. ments. With the disappearance of any illusion of perspective, As far as the development of the decorative motifs is con- it is possible to refer to the third style. This system begins to cerned, one notices a change in the architectural structure typ- spread out around the last decade of the first century BC, when ical of the second style around 30 BC. Illusionistic three- Augustus comes to power. dimensional architectures tend to flatten out into bi- The third style conceives the wall as a plane surface and the dimensional surfaces and to become slenderer, less realistic canonical subdivision into base; the middle and upper part and more ornamental, to eventually reduce to sort of cornices tends to reduce to a sequence of monochrome panels (usually that framed the large figured panels usually placed in the cen- black, red and white), delimited by simple and elegant orna- tre of the wall. The polychromy gets simpler and it is used mental frames. only to highlight the meaningful images. Figurative scenes Columns become slender poles, often “vegetalised”,orare multiply over the walls, sometimes even evoking a picture transformed into candelabra (Bastet and De Vos 1979). gallery. Figurative panel pictures in the centre of the wall with only The fresco cycles of the urban imperial residences clearly a few clearly defined figures are evidence of an aesthetic illustrate this change with regard to both the overall design of choice shaped by the desire for proportion and classical bal- the wall decorations and the new conception of the architec- ance typical of the Augustan age. tural elements losing reality, what was criticised by Vitruvius In the first phase, which corresponds to the Principate of (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 3-4) Augustus, the ornamental repertoire is rendered with extreme One of the clearest examples of this new fashion trend is meticulousness, but it is rather limited and rather ancillary to the Villa della Farnesina, which has been associated to the the general effect of the overall decorative system, which ap- marriage of Agrippa and Julia, Augustus’ daughter. Its pears simple and polished. With reference to the ornamental frescoes have been removed from the site and are now on elements, Egyptian motifs are in line with the lust for “the exhibit at the Museo Nazionale Romano. Particularly interest- exotic” and “the archaic” of the Augustan ruling class. ing is cubicle (B) (Fig. 10b), featuring, along the walls of the One of the most notable examples is that of the Villa of antechamber and the alcove, a pinacotheca with paintings of Agrippa Postumo in Boscotrecase in the Vesuvian area, dated different styles and on various supports. to the last decade of the first century BC. The wall decorations The beautiful scene in the central aedicula (ornamental of the three rooms are partly at the National Museum of pavillo-like structure)—kind of an altarpiece ante litteram— Naples and partly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in representing Ino-Leucothea breastfeeding the infant New York. Here, there are no references to illusionistic archi- Dionysus in a Hellenistic-style landscape is accompanied tectures, and the wall is rather characterised by the presence of on both sides by paintings with scenes of female paideia large monochrome panels articulated by detailed and refined (education) on a white background and characterised by a decorations. classical-style balance. The relevance of these pictures The black walls of the cubiculum present slender candela- (which look like painted on marble slabs) is emphasised bra supporting paintings with Egyptian scenes taking place on through the elaborate polychrome frames and the statu- a yellow background (Fig. 11a). The central aedicule is com- ettes of sphinx placed on elegant vegetal half columns posed of thin, almost metallic “columns” and frames small that hold them. Overall, the entire decoration of the landscape views that look like cameos and evoke the land- Villa della Farnesina is sort of an anthology of how paint- scapes of the Villa della Farnesina (Fig. 11b). Even more ings were displayed in private spaces, whether hung on, refined is the decoration of the so-called red room, whose or inserted into, the wall, or resting on, or hold by, a monochrome bright red walls feature in the centre large pic- support. One of the principal themes of the entire decora- tures with “idyllic-sacred” landscapes on a white background tive cycle, almost a fil rouge linking the various rooms’ (Fig. 11c). A third room, probably with white walls, was dec- wall paintings with one another, is that of the landscape. orated with representations of mythological themes in natural One of the most refined examples can be found on the landscapes, like Polyphemus’ love for the nymph Galatea and walls of triclinium C. From the monochrome black walls Perseus freeing Andromeda (Von Blanckenhagen 1962). scanned by miniature columns from which garlands were A similar decorative system can be observed in the Villa draped, vague landscapes emerge as if they were the prod- Imperiale in Pompeii, where the oecus (saloon) A is decorated uct of the viewer’s imagination (La Rocca 2004). with large paintings of mythological landscapes and monu- mental scenes inspired by Cretan cycle, including Daedalus Third style (“ornamental”) and Icarus, Theseus and the Minotaur and Ariadne at Naxos. The abundance of images in this large reception room, de- In a few decades, the decorative features already in nuce in the signed to express the culture of the patron and his passion for collecting, is further multiplied in the upper part of the wall last phase of the second style take over the entire wall, Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 19 of 30 187 Fig. 11 a Egyptian scenes, Villa of Agrippa Postumo, Boscotrecase, “black room” (Baldassarre et al. 2002 p155). b Small landscape, Villa of Agrippa Postumo, Boscotrecase, “black room” (MET inv. n. 20.192.1). c “Idyllic-sacred” landscape, Villa of Agrippa Postumo, Boscotrecase, “red room” (Baldassarre et al. 2002,p 155). d Fall of Icarus Casa del Frutteto (I 9, 5–7), Pompeii (photo by au- thor). e Insula 18, red room, Avanches (Musée Romain d’Avences) (Baldassarre et al. 2002, p 211) by Dionysian representations and six small paintings decorative elements multiply and overlap with one another (pinakes) with portraits of poets like Sappho and Alceus. in fictious ways and overload the entire walls, which receive In particular, the theme of the Fall of Icarus seems recur- compositions of diagonal lines and convex, concave, oval and rent in Pompeian decorations. It is represented in the form of a circular elements as well. In the upper part of the wall, they mythological landscape in the triclinium of theCasadel reappear slender architectures that invade also the middle Frutteto in Pompeii (I 9, 5-7); here the mythological episode zone, flanking the aedicule with the central painting (Bastet is set between sky and earth, thereby giving the painter the and De Vos 1979). possibility to insert more details, such as the astonished spec- The decoration of the tablinum of the Casa di M. Lucretius tators (Fig. 11d). Fronto (V 4, a) in Pompeii (Peters 1993) provides a clear In a more advanced phase of the third style, in the first half example of this later evolution of the third style. The remark- of the first century AD, the sober elegance that characterised able richness of the room is visible on the wall: the architec- the paintings of the Augustan and Tiberian periods is gradu- tural elements typical of the second style reappear but emptied ally abandoned. The palette of walls’ colour becomes more of their structural and realistic value; rather, they are trans- varied, and the chromatic contrasts get more vivid. The formed into ornamental elements. The decoration of the base 187 Page 20 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 represents a closed garden (hortus conclusus) with a gushing covered with multi-level façades, from which single or couple fountain in the centre on a black background. The decoration of figures emerge, are outstanding. The decorative elements of the middle part of the wall instead plays on a series of and frames, especially in the vaults, are populated by fantastic contrasts, namely chromatic, size and content contrast, with figures and objects that are purely ornamental. It was this central red panels hosting mythological paintings (the love decorative richness that fascinated sixteenth-century artists stories of Mars and Venus and of Heracles and the triumph and inspired to them the creation of the grotesques. of Dionysus) flanked by black panels featuring landscape Large figured mythological tableaux are placed mainly on paintings of seaside villas on the Campania coast supported the vaults, especially in their centre. One example is room by elegant candelabra. The upper zone displays a complex (119), the so-called Hall of Achilles at Skyros (Fig.12), which scenography, whose architectural elements are distant from owes its name to the famous mythological episode in the cen- the realism of the second style though. tre of the vault. This is divided into false lacunars outlined by Lastly, it is worth remarking that the stylistic elements and elaborate stucco frames and hosting vignettes or individual wall decoration systems that distinguish the wall painting of figures. The apsidal basin instead is decorated with a shell the first half of the first century AD in the peninsula find with ribs in relief and fanciful “grotesques” rendered through comparisons also in the provinces. The preference for an ever a profusion of various overlapping layers of colour. more complex and imaginative ornamentation and the use of The less important rooms have simpler decorative systems. plain backgrounds, very often monochrome and showing live- The architectural façades are replaced by sequences of plain ly chromatic contrasts between the different parts of the wall, panels outlined by unusual, pierced borders and with small find an echo in the artistic choices of the workshops of pain- landscape paintings depicted with rapid brush strokes ters operating in the different provinces of the Empire, espe- enlivened by white tones, based on light effects. This “impres- cially in the transalpine area and the western extremes. As an sionist” painting technique would then become the example among others, we may cite the “red room” of distinguishing stylistic feature of the late fourth style Avenches (insula 18) (Fig. 11e), the ancient Aventicum,in (Baldassarre et al. 2002; Meyboom and Moormann 2013). Germania Superior,today’s central Switzerland. The mono- The evolution of this style can be followed in the Vesuvian chrome red walls of this room are scanned by twisted columns area, where due to the earthquake of 62 AD the decoration of decorated with vegetal motifs and vegetalised columns from some rooms that had been damaged had to be restored. which ribbons and bunches of grapes are draped, as well as In general, the chromatic contrasts between the various bands with elaborate ornamental motifs (Barbet 2008). parts of the walls get more intense, and, in addition to the black, red and white backgrounds typical of the third style, Fourth style (“intricate”) there are also yellow and blue backgrounds. Most times, the decoration of the middle zone consists of a sequence of panels The innovative style of the Domus Aurea influences the wall decorated with perforated borders (a sort of signature motif of painting of the second half of the first century AD and the the fourth style—Barbet 1981—Fig. 13a) and hosting in their subsequent periods, although recent studies date the first evi- centre “flying” figures or small pictures (Peters 1982). dence of the fourth style before the reign of Nero. In more elaborate contexts, these simple systems are re- From the mid-first century AD onwards, there is a revival placed by complex constructions extending over the entire of the architectural structures, often rendered in perspective, wall to form the background against which mythical events which does not influence the decorative structure of the wall are staged. An example of this is cubicle (A) in the House of though. This represents the main change from the canons of Pinarius Cerialis (III 4, 4.6); in the centre of a complex archi- the third style. The superabundance and creativity of the tectural façade, Iphigenia appears from beyond the portal of fictious architectural frames is married to an overload of orna- the temple of Artemis in Tauris, flanked on both sides by ments and leads to “baroque” compositions. The main char- Orestes and Pylades, who are destined to be sacrificed to the acteristic of the fourth style is its eclecticism, which is likely a goddess, and the Scythian king Toante, who has taken the two legacy of Fabullus, the painter to whom the literary sources heroes prisoners. attribute the frescoes of the Domus Aurea. He enjoyed a One of the most remarkable examples from Pompeii, how- “Mannerist” manner for the use of contrasts, and according ever, is that of the Casa dei Vettii (VI 15, 1), whose frescoes to Pliny, his style was, at once and the same time, solemn and were executed by some of the finest painters of their days severe (gravis ac severus) and brilliant and fluent (floridus ac (Peters 1977; Esposito 1999, 2007, 2009). The median zone umidus)(Barbet 1985 2009; Baldassarre 2002). of the famous reception hall’s walls is occupied by large red What survives of the majestic residence, which extended panels with flying couples in the centre, separated by vertical over eighty hectares, proves its stylistic uniqueness, which is black bands (inter-panels) with gilded candelabra. Under it due not only to the different functions of the rooms, but also to runs the frieze (predella) with genre scenes: cupids and the influence of various painters. The high walls completely psychai are engaged in various work and activities Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 21 of 30 187 Fig. 12 Hall of Achilles on Skyros, Domus Aurea, Rome (Baldassarre et al. 2002, p 226) (Fig. 13b). The decoration of the southern triclinium is even proves a predilection for contrasting monochrome panels more ambitious in terms of contents. Golden yellow panels delimited by ornamental borders. These started to gain an alternate with architectural views standing out against light ever-greater importance in the wall painting structure, as did backgrounds; they host large mythological paintings, includ- also the narrow spaces inserted between the panels in the ing Heracles strangling the snakes, Pentheus torn apart by the middle zone, the so-called inter-panels. Invaded by fanciful maenads and Dirce tied to the bull (Fig. 13c). These paintings decoration, these panels mark the rhythm of the wall to create are very emphatic(/pathetic?) and far from the classical sober- original compositions and a peculiar decorative imprint, des- ness of the Augustan age; the walls’ overall decorative exu- tined to be very successful until at least the fourth century AD. berance is furthered by the proliferation of architectural per- This consists of using a flat two-dimensional compositional spectives. The superabundance of ornamental motifs is even scheme in which the wall is divided into panels and inter- greater in the decoration of the northern triclinium. panels painted in vivid contrasting colours and enlivened by Different features have been recorded in the northern part vegetal and figurative elements, some of which are particular- of the Italian peninsula, in the Cisalpine and in the adjoining ly refined. The most appreciated decorative motifs, especially Gaul. In these provincial territories, the circulation of people in the central zone, include isolated human figures and vi- and artists and the presence of Roman notables entailed an gnettes, landscapes, fishponds and, in the inter-panels, which early acceptance of traditional decorative systems in Roman actually become now the real focus of the decoration, cande- wall painting. Therefore, when in the middle of the first cen- labra and varied vegetal ornaments (Salvadori and Didonè tury AD, Rome and the south converted to the extravagant 2018;Barbet 2009). features of the fourth style, and a local decorative language A remarkable example of these comes from a house in began to develop in the north that partly distanced itself from Aquileia, identified in the area below the Christian basilica. the other. In fact, the archaeological evidence does not show The wall section reconstructed from the fragments found dur- ing the excavation consists of a yellow inter-panel with a fanciful elaborations of architectural perspectives; rather, it 187 Page 22 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 The most famous example of megalography is undoubted- ly that of the frieze of the tablinum (5) in the Villa dei Misteri in Pompeii. Twenty-nine characters belonging to Dionysus’ entourage, both human and mythological, are participating in an initiation into the Dionysian Mysteries or in a wedding (Fig. 14a). To the left of the doorway, a female figure wrapped in a purple and gold cloak, her head veiled, sits on a bench, her chin resting on her right hand while she is reflecting and watching the scene unfolding along all the walls of the room. Dionysus occupies the focal point of the eastern wall, in front of the main entrance to the room. The god is inebriated and reclining on the lap of a seated female figure. The other figures are represented in groups and “freeze” different moments of the sacred mythical-ritual and mythical-ecstatic ceremony. To the left of the divine couple (Dionysus-Semele/Ariadne/ Venus), an old Silenus, seated and holding a large tympanum (behind him), offers a silver cup to a young satyr who, looking into the cup, sees reflected the Silenian mask another young satyr is holding aloft. Fig. 13 a Embroidery border, Casa di M. Fabius Rufus (VII 16, 22), Pompeii (photo by author). b Predella with cupids making perfumes and psychai, Casa dei Vettii (VI 15, 1), Pompeii (Baldassarre et al. 2002 pp 232-233). c Heracles strangling snakes, Pentheus torn apart by maenads, Casa dei Vettii (VI 15, 1), Pompeii, southern triclinium (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, p 337) silver-like candelabrum with a blue-white “umbrella” on top of which stand a pair of felines and a deer. The fragments discovered, some of which comprise portions of figurative scenes, suggest skilled painters worked in Aquileia in the sec- ond half of the first century AD. Figurative repertoire Megalography The term megalography comes from Vitruvius (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 1-4) who, in describing the decorative trends of the so-called second style, mentions the presence of signorum megalographiam,i.e. “monumental paintings of figures” (Rouveret 2002). These near life-size representations are de- Fig. 14 a Megalographia with the mysteries of Dionysus, Villa dei fined as megalographiae to indicate both the monumentality Misteri, Pompeii, tablinum (5). b Fall of Icarus and pinakes,Villa Imperiale, Pompeii (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, pp 106, 243) of the figures and the elevated subject matter. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 23 of 30 187 On the right, a semi-kneeling woman is lifting a purple in Boscoreale. The scenes take place on a red cinnabar back- cloth to show the ritual object placed in the basket in front ground and are slightly larger than life-size. of her. Behind her, a young girl holds a tray with a bunch of Although the identification of the single figures is still de- pine needles, while another winged female figure, the upper bated, it is likely an allegorical commemoration of Alexander part of her body naked, looks back and raises her right arm the Great’s conquest of Asia and, more broadly, a celebration holding a rod, likely to whip the kneeling girl on the adjacent of the Macedonian dynasty. wall. This is probably a representation of the moment of the Macedonia is portrayed as a female figure holding a spear unveiling of the ritual phallus (a symbol of regeneration) dur- and wearing a headdress with a tubular diadem, her shield ing the celebration of the initiation rites. featuring the famous Macedonian star. Another seated woman On the adjoining southern wall, a girl kneels down, her wearing oriental clothes, the personification of Asia, looks at back bare, the hair loose and the eyes closed, on the lap of a her. Next to the two female figures is a half-naked old man seated woman who holds and comforts her. The woman is wrapped in a cloak, whom his long beard and knobby walking dressed in white and her hair is gathered in a cap. On the right, stick suggest to identify with a philosopher (although his iden- a maenad portrayed in three-quarter view is dancing and tity cannot be guessed). His presence is probably linked to the playing cymbals (crotales); another female figure behind her importance that such figures had at the Macedonian court. wearing a long dress, her hair coiffed, is holding a thyrsus. On On the opposite wall (now at the Metropolitan Museum of the opposite (northern) wall, a figure with a swollen mantle Art in New York), there are Alexander the Great’s father, around her head looks back towards the old Silenus and raises Philip II, and his mother Eurydice; a seated female figure her left hand in a gesture of revulsion at the scene she is identified as Olympias, Alexander’s mother, playing the lyre observing. Next to her, two young satyrs are sitting on a rock, and assisted by a handmaids; and a priestess reading the future the man playing a syrinx and the panisca breastfeeding a roe that is reflecting in a mirror (the divinatory practice of deer. Behind them, an elder Silenus resting on a pillar is katoptromanthía), who is prophesying Alexander’s birth, playing a lyre. Three female figures are celebrating a ritual whose image materialises on a golden shield (Smith 1994; around a table (lustratio), while a fourth one comes from the Pappalardo 2013; Bragantini 2009;Bragantiniand left carrying a tray with ritual cakes or flatbreads (a symbol of Sampaolo 2009, pp. 171–172, 178–179). the fertility of the land that yields crops). Behind her a naked boy is reading a rotulo, a seating woman posing her right hand Panel pictures on his right shoulder while clutching a scroll in the other. Next to them, a standing matron in profile and wrapped in a cloak, Since the mid-first century BC, reproductions of paintings of her head veiled, is observing the ritual. various subjects were included in the wall decoration systems. In the south-west corner, a female figure is seated on a stool The taste for painting panel pictures reflects the desire to im- combing her hair, assisted by a handmaiden (ornatrix) and itate the apparatus of the most prestigious residences. The two cupids: one holds up a mirror, while the other looks at creation of private pinacothecae (pictures-galleries) and the her (Ling 1991). parallel reproduction of illusionist galleries in wall paintings The exegesis of the composition is particularly controver- are instances of Roman luxuria, which spread from the late sial, and interpretations are still not unanimous, chiefly due to Republic, when, following the Roman conquest of Greece and both the theme being narrative and mythical/allegorical at a the East, goods of all kinds and valuable objects and artworks time and the intrinsic nature of Dionysian Mysteries, which came to Rome (Torelli et al. 2011). were secret and accessible only to initiates. This is the reason Illusionist galleries of movable paintings with wooden why no literary sources document the initiation rites, allowing frames or shutters (pinakes) hung on the wall or placed on to identify the various moments of the ceremony. shelves aimed at emulating great easel paintings (Fig. 14b). There have been numerous interpretation attempts; the These fictious panel pictures could be of various sizes and most widely accepted one understands the frieze as the initia- represent views of ports or villas, idyllic-sacred landscapes tion of a young female adept in the presence of deities and with small temples populated by shepherds, wanderers or fish- mythical characters. The girl, although still spiritually a child, ermen (Ling 1991;Salvadori 2008; La Rocca et al. 2009), as undergoes trials to be re-born in the cult of the god. According well as Nilotic landscapes with ibises and pygmies (Versluys to another reading, the frieze represents the wedding of a 2002), still lives (Croisille 1965, 2015;De Caro 2001), genre Roman aristocratic girl who is preparing to embrace her new scenes or scenes from everyday life (Clarke 2003;Tortorella status of bride and matron under the aegis of Dionysus (Ling 2009) and, above all, mythological themes (Lorenz 2008; 1991; Patanè 2003; Pappalardo 1982, 2013; Sauron 1998, Salvo 2018). The great mythological paintings selected one 2009). or more of the most significant episodes of a subject or saga Another impressive megalography is depicted in the most indeed, in order for their representations to appear comprehen- important reception room of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor sible and evocative to ancient observers. 187 Page 24 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Each workshop had its own repertoire of models and sketches (Peters 1977), and different characters were depicted repeating the same iconographic schemes. The attributes of each character permitted the viewer to recognise the theme and the moment depicted (Salvo 2018, 2020). The Villa Imperiale’s pseudo-paintings represent one of the most signif- icant examples in Pompeii. The third style paintings of the hall (a) (used as a reception room—oecus) largely survived to the devastating earthquake of 62 AD; instead, those in the upper zone and the vault col- lapsed along with the roof and were restored in the fourth style. The middle zone of each wall consists of a series of red panels separated by thin columns; in the centre, a bi- dimensional aedicula frames a large mythological painting. In the upper zone, six small paintings with open and folded shutters (pinakes) depicting portraits of poets seem to rest on small supporting shelves like they were real. All the mythological paintings in this sumptuous room re- fer to the Cretan world and are likely a reflection the dominus’ desire for an extremely sophisticated and refined decorative apparatus. They include the unlucky flight of Icarus who, having ignored his father Daedalus’ recommendation not to fly too close to the sun with his wax-soaked wings, now lies lifeless on the ground; Theseus killing the ferocious Minotaur and thus freeing the Athenian youths (whom the monstrous creature would have eaten) that are joyfully kissing the hero as a sign of gratitude; and Theseus’ abandoning on the island of Naxos the Cretan princess Ariadne who is sleeping on the Fig. 15 a Painted garden, Villa di Livia ad gallinas albas (Rome, Museo ground while the hero is ready to set sail for his homeland Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme). b Landscapes, Villa (Fig. 14b). The coherence of the mythological themes and della Farnesina, cryptoporticus (f) (Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano, their distribution in the room are evidence of a precise deco- Palazzo Massimo alle Terme) (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, pp 191, 212) rative programme aiming at imitating a private art collection (Pappalardo 1987, 1995, 2013; Mazzoleni et al. 2004; Romizzi 2006). provide the wreaths for the triumphs of the Caesars to come. The decorative system dates likely around 20 BE; its chronol- Gardens ogy is controversial though, as due to the high quality level of the paintings, it is difficult to compare them with any other The illusionist garden of the underground chamber of Livia’s artisanal work. The decoration covers all the four walls of the room completely, and it is interrupted only in the centre of the Villa ad gallinas albas near Prima Porta is one of the best- known examples of Roman wall painting (Fig. 15a). It is the eastern wall by the entrance. Along the baseboard, two fences run parallel to one earliest known example of a painting genre that appeared in another. The one that looks closer to the viewer is yellow Rome in the last decades of the first century BC and whose introduction is believed to be due to imperial patronage. and thick, while the farther one is a marble balustrade; it is decorated with various serial motifs in relief (imitating What was the function of this large underground room of Livia’s estate (whether a cool place to rest in summer, a meet- trellises, gates, and “scales pattern”) and has six quadran- gular niches, two in each of the long sides and one in the ing place connected to the baths nearby, or a nymphaeum) is still debated (Mazzoleni et al. 2004; Sauron 2009). Here, on short ones. All the niches on the long sides stage four fir trees whilethose on theshortsides featureapineand an the day of her wedding with Augustus, Livia was the protag- onist of a prodigious event. Tradition has it that an oak . In correspondence with the short sides’ niches, the first fence has two openings that reveal a narrow eagle clutching a white hen dropped it into Livia’slap. The hen was holding a laurel branch in its beak. Livia planted the ambulatio. A lush garden full of numerous flowering plants, shrubs and trees is visible beyond the balustrade twig, creating a thick wood surrounding the villa that would Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 25 of 30 187 that supports a birdcage. The vegetation includes olean- perched on branches or fly, while two female tragic masks ders, pomegranates, laurel, apples, palms, strawberries, are hunguponthe upperpartofthe wall. myrtles, viburnum and box trees as well as roses, poppies, The quality of these frescoes is outstanding and has been white and yellow daisies and acanthus plants. Numerous compared to two other examples documented in the Casa dei birds are perched on the trees, while others fly high in the cubicoli floreali (I 9, 5-7); someone has argued that the same blue sky along the upper band. This is crowned by a series artists might have worked in both the Pompeian houses in the of light brown motifs that have been variously interpreted first decades of the first century AD (Moormann 1995b). by scholars as stalactites or leaves of a bower or a garland More recent is the large porticoed garden of the Casa della (Settis 2008;Salvadori 2017). The decoration of the barrel Venere in conchiglia (II 3,3), dating to the last phase of vault consisted of stucco lacunars with winged Victories Pompeii’s life. This example is of particular relevance due to that were only partially preserved when this room was dis- the association of the garden painting with a mythological covered in 1863. In 1951–1952, the paintings were de- image. The wall visible in front the atrium is divided into three tached and transported to the Museo Nazionale Romano; parts by large arches that look like imaginary windows. The the detachment laid bare a layer of tiles that had been ap- larger arch in the centre frames the birth of Venus; the goddess plied underneath the plaster to form a cavity that would is lying on a shell, flanked by two cupids. The two side arches insulate the paintings from moisture. instead enclose two gardens on a blue background. The east- More than a hundred years after the discovery of the garden ern one features a marble statue of Mars on the central pedes- paintings in the Villa of Livia, archaeologists are still debating tal, while the western one hosts a circular fountain pouring over whether, given the exceptional conception and formal water. The iconographic motif of the garden, which is iterated execution of these frescoes, they should be regarded as the along all the other walls delimiting the house’srealgarden, is product of an inventio inspired by Livia and the miraculous further enriched here as it develops under the protection and event she had been the protagonist of, or, rather, as a particu- control of the goddess Venus, whose area of action is tradi- larly refined and successful instantiation of a pre-existing tionally related to this space. genre. Whatever the case, this representation seems to have Landscapes influenced the genre of garden paintings, which appear in many other contexts for a long period, especially in the As already discussed, that of the landscape is a pictorial genre Vesuvian area. Among the numerous evidence, the exam- well documented from the Augustan age onwards. Vitruvius ple of the Casa del Bracciale d’oro in Pompeii (VI 17 Insula himself, when describing wall painting decorations, explicitly Occidentalis 42) is worth mentioning. This house is built on mentions landscapes (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 1-2). He refers to a three levels on a slope surface and rests on the city walls. variety of places (topia): ports, promontories, beaches, rivers, The lowest floor corresponds to the base of the walls and springs, sea straits, sanctuaries, sacred woods, mountains, has two rooms built into the supporting arches of the upper flocks and shepherds. The list of topia and the reference to floor; they open a garden with a fountain in the centre and a their “collective” character recur also in Pliny’s Naturalis pergola all around. Both these rooms are completely cov- Historia (XXXV, 116 à XXXV, 37, 116). Pliny’s passage ered by garden paintings. Room (31) is a triclinium with on landscape painting not only broadens the types of places masonry beds and has also a niche at the end of the eastern and the actions of the people therein, but it also adds further wall which is decorated with polychrome mosaics repro- information. He contends that the landscape genre was ducing a garden with fountains and birds. This and the gar- invented by one Studius, who lived in the Augustan age and den paintings all around the other walls generate the illu- who achieved a high reputation with works of beautiful aspect sion of being a real pergola pavillon. The lush garden stands but low cost. There is no doubt that the painter referred to by against a blue sky and is adorned with artefacts of Egyptian Pliny—one of the few names of Roman artists handed down inspiration (sphinxes, Pharaonic statues, paintings of the ox to us—earned his reputation; his style was likely based on an Apis) and fountains. There are oleanders and strawberry established repertoire, with reference to which he created typ- bushes, among which birds of various species fly. Room ified and fantastic images. (32), interpreted as a cubiculum, features a fence with rect- In the above-mentioned complex of the Villa della angular, cuspidate and rhomboidal hole. Above it, a garden Farnesina, landscape paintings on white backgrounds appear full of oleanders, laurel, strawberry bushes, viburnum, not only in the triclinium, but also in the cryptoporticus, where roses and ivy, camomile plants, palm trees and plane trees also the stuccoes on the vault reproduce landscape views. stands against a blue sky. Amidst the vegetation, there are Along the upper part of the walls, landscape paintings alter- circular fountains pouring water and hermas supporting nate with enigmatic still lives comprising masks—an iterative pinakes representing the sleeping Ariadne and a Maenad. decoration typical of transit spaces. The landscapes, rendered Pigeons, swallows, sparrows, magpies and an oriole are in simple tones of green and ochre ranging from brown to 187 Page 26 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 yellow, reveal a remarkable creativity in the choice and com- A step forward into the study of Roman provincial wall bination of the elements (Fig. 15b). Alongside the genre paint- painting was Alix Barbet’s 1975 monograph on the paintings ings, portraying both rural and maritime panoramas, they open of Glanum (Southern France), which was supposed to be the views to real landscapes, such as the Isthmus of Corinth, first of a series of volumes dedicated to wall painting in Gaul characterised by Lysippus’ statue of Poseidon. (Barbet 1975). Although this project has later been abandoned Particularly successful at the beginning of the imperial age in favour of a series of publications focusing on single con- were the sacred landscapes; very famous are those depicted in texts, it is worth noting that not only did Barbet’s volume grey on a white background enclosed in the central aediculae mark the birth of prolific French-speaking researches in of the so-called mask room in the House of Augustus on the Roman provincial wall painting, but also a method of investi- Palatine. The meaning of these landscapes paintings—which gation that would drive any subsequent study with regard to do not look like “beyond spaces”—is enriched of a symbolic the analysis of the tectorium—its anchoring to the masonry, value due to the presence of the typical attributes of the compositional characteristics of the layers, the execution Augustus’s protective deities, including the betyle, the of the preparatory drawings on the paint film, the composition aniconic symbol of Apollo (Salvadori 2008). of the pigments and the presence of binders. This new approach revitalised the studies in Roman paint- ing, leading to an increase in the number of publications in the following decades (e.g. Abdal Casal 1982 for Spain) It im- Concluding remarks and future perspectives pacted also on the centennial studies in Roman wall paintings in the Vesuvian area, which began to focus on the production At the end of this overview of Roman wall painting’stech- process and to understand it as artisanal manufacturing only niques and stylistic and iconographic evolution from the from the 1990s onwards. Republic to the Early Empire, it is worth underlying that re- Broadening the perspective, in the last 20 years of the searches in this field as relates to the provinces of the Roman twentieth century, they established the “Association Empire began only after the mid-twentieth century, whereas française pour la peinture murale antique” (AFPMA, in studies in wall painting in the Vesuvian area have bourgeoned 1979) and the “Association internationale pour la peinture since the nineteenth to the present day without pause. As far as murale antique” (AIPMA, officially established in Köln in non-Vesuvian wall painting is concerned, the pioneering work 1989 after three conferences held in Cambridge in 1980, in of W. Drack on the corpus of fragmentary paintings from Paris in 1982 and in Avenches 1986), followed, in 2016, by Switzerland is worth mentioning. His Die römische the “Associazione italiana ricerche pittura antica” (AIRPA). Wandmalerei der Schweiz was published in 1950; it provides These associations are fertile grounds for updating and crit- ical discussion at national and international level and might a rigorous analysis of the wall paintings that had been brought to light in the first half of the twentieth century, integrating pave the way for Roman wall painting to be investigated from descriptions of the decorations with information on the ar- a holistic, global and polycentric perspective. chaeological context and stylistic analyses chiefly based on In the future, it would be desirable to put in practice a more comparisons with the closest evidence in the area (and there- constant integration between humanistic and scientific skills fore not only with Roman and Campanian documentation— that can lead to an accurate diachronic definition of ancient Drack 1950; Fuchs and Dubois 2018). As it has been recently painting styles and techniques. underlined (Barbet 2018), Drack’s work represents a mile- For example, the number of archaeometric studies current- stone in Roman provincial wall painting studies, and its ap- ly available for the Vesuvian area is still very small, both on proach was innovative in that it stressed the relevance of mortars (see, e.g. Castriota et al. 2008;Izzo et al. 2016; Leone interpreting wall decorations in connection to their architec- et al. 2016; Rispoli et al. 2019), and on pigments (see, e.g. tural context. Moreover, Drack documents his tentative recon- Duran et al. 2010; Casoli and Santoro 2012; Castellini et al. structions of any decoration system (or portions thereof) from 2019). Studies unrelated to the evidence of a single site are its fragments with accurate graphic and photographic docu- often focused on degradation issues (Grifa et al. 2016;Merello mentation. Drack’s “global” approach to the study of Roman et al. 2016), while there is a lack of studies aimed at wall painting in Switzerland is more original than S. characterising specific styles. Aurigemma’s corpus of Tripolitania (Northern Africa) paint- Even outside the Vesuvian area, the archaeometric investi- ings, published about a decade later and yet very valuable gations on ancient wall paintings are often oriented to the (Aurigemma 1962). The corpus, illustrated by a remarkable study of single sites (e.g., Hernanz et al. 2008;Gutman et al. number of colour images and graphic reconstructions of the 2016; Guirdzhiiska et al. 2017), and the reference to defined paintings, focuses on the analysis of individual iconographic styles is not always evident. elements but loses sight of a comprehensive insight into the As a further example, among the various examples cited in phenomenon of wall painting. the previous pages, archaeometric studies are often absent. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 27 of 30 187 Aliatis I, Bersani D, Campani E, Casoli A, Lottici PP, Mantovan S, On the other hand, the recent research carried out by Cuní Marino IG (2010) Pigments used in Roman wall paintings in the (2016) on painting techniques in Roman wall paintings has Vesuvian area. J Raman Spectrosc 41(11):1537–1542 shown how archaeometric analyses may cast doubt on some Allison P (1995) “Painter-workshops” or “decorators’ teams”?In: reconstructions on painting media. Similarly, studies on mor- Moormann EM (ed) (1995a) pp 61–298 Arizzi A, Cultrone G (2021) Mortars and plasters – how to characterise tars and plasters have often found that the “standard” prepa- hydraulic mortars. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. ration handed down from ancient resources was often simpli- https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01404-2 fied or modified. Aurigemma S (1962) L’Italia in Africa. Le scoperte (1911-1943). In: Therefore, an increase in research and an expansion of Tripolitania I. Le pitture d’età romana, Roma results that integrate historical, historical-artistic, archae- Baggio M, Salvadori M (2017) Tessuti, velari e tende nella pittura parietale antica: alcune riflessioni. In: Vidale M, Angelini A (eds) ological and archaeometric data is needed to validate Cupitò M. Beyond Limits. Studi in onore di Giovanni Leonardi, current knowledge and establish meaningful parallels Firenze, pp 209–217 between information deduced from ancient resources, Baldassarre I(2002)la Domus Aurea. In: Baldassarre et al. 2002, historical-artistic studies, archaeological evidence and pp 216-225 archaeometric investigations. Baldassarre I, Pontrandolfo A, Rouveret A, Salvadori M (2002) Dall'ellenismo al tardo antico, Milano Barbet A (1975) Recueil général des peintures murales de la Gaule, I, Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary Narbonnaise, 1, Glanum. XXVII Supplément à Gallia, Paris material available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01411-3. Barbet A (1981) Les bordures ajourées dans le IVe style de Pompéi. Essai de typologie. Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome Author contribution Monica Salvadori: Introduction; Ancient sources; Antiquité 93:917–998 Decorative schemes; The styles of Roman painting and Mau’s theory; Barbet A (1985) (2009) La peinture murale romaine. Les styles décoratifs First style (“incrustation”) and its antecedents: masonry style, “zero” pompéiens, Paris style; Second style (“architectural-illusionistic”); Third style (“ornamen- Barbet A (1998) La tecnica pittorica. In: Donati 1998, pp 103–110 tal”); Fourth style (“intricate”); Gardens; Landscapes; and Conclusions Clelia Sbrolli: Introduction; Preparation techniques; Characteristics of Barbet A (2000) La pittura romana. Dal pictor al restauratore, Imola tectorium and preparatory layers of mortar; Plaster anchoring systems; Barbet A (2008) La peinture murale en Gaule romaine, Paris Sketches, outline incisions and corda battuta (chalk-line); Painting tech- Barbet A (2009) La peinture murale romaine. Les styles décoratifs niques; Affresco, mezzo-fresco, a secco, surface treatment and finishing; pompéiens. Paris Pontate (“scaffoldings”)/giornate (“working days”); Megalography; and Barbet A (2016) Recomposition et restitution des peintures murales Panel pictures fragmentaires : méthodologie, principes scientifiques et éthiques. Revue archéologique 2016/2 62:361–381 Barbet A (2018) Un demi-siècle de recherches sur la peinture murale Declarations The authors have no conflict of interest to declare. antique. In Dubois Y, Niffeler U (eds) (2018) Pictores per Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were provincias, II, 11–23 created or analysed in this study. Barbet A, Allag C (1972) Techniques de préparation des parois dans la peinture murale romaine. Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome Antiquité 84-2:935–1070 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Barbet A, Allag C (2000) La pittura romana: dal pictor al restauratore. Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adap- Catalogo della Mostra, Trento, Palazzo Thun, giugno-settembre tation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as 2000-Bologna, Complesso di San Giovanni in Monte, ottobre you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, pro- 2000. Imola vide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were Bastet FL, De Vos M (1979) Proposta per una classificazione del terzo made. The images or other third party material in this article are included stile pompeiano, Roma in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a Béarat H, Fuchs M, Maggetti M, Paunier D (eds) (1997) Roman wall credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's painting: materials, techniques, analysis and conservation. Fribourg Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by Becker H (in press) Commerce in color: the mechanics of the Roman statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain trade permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this Becker H (2021) Pigment nomenclature in the ancient Near East, Greece, licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. and Rome. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. https:// doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01394-1 Beyen HG (1960) Die Pompeianische Wanddekoration vom Zweiten Bis zum Vierten Stil, voll. 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Wall paintings through the ages: the roman period—Republic and early Empire

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Abstract

This paper aims at presenting an overview of Roman wall painting production between late Republic and the early Empire. It will focus on the technique and style of in situ wall paintings from the Vesuvian area (Italy). Frescoes are indeed an integral part of architecture and reflect the patrons’ ambitions and social level as well as the craftsmen’s technical know-how. Since this is a handicraft product, the quality of materials, the craftsmen’s skills and the technique are fundamental to understand the fresco’s value and the message that the patron wished to communicate through the use of elaborate schemes, expensive colours or certain mythological themes. . . . . Keywords Roman wall painting Painting technique Technology Craftsmanship Pompeian styles Premise press). Three archaeological reviews on prehistoric (Domingo Sanz and Chieli 2021), Roman (This paper) and Medieval This Topical Collection (TC) covers several topics in the field (Murat 2021) wall paintings clarify the archaeological and of study, in which ancient architecture, art history, archaeolo- historical/cultural framework. A series of archaeometric reviews gy and material analyses intersect. The chosen perspective is illustrate the state of the art of the studies carried out on Fe-based that of a multidisciplinary scenario, capable of combining, red, yellow and brown ochres (Mastrotheodoros et al. 2021); Cu- integrating and solving the research issues raised by the study based greens and blues (Švarcová et al. 2021); As-based yellows of mortars, plasters and pigments (Gliozzo et al. 2021). and reds (Gliozzo and Burgio 2021); Pb-based whites, reds, yel- The first group of contributions explains how mortars have lows and oranges (Gliozzo and Ionescu 2021); Hg-based red and been made and used through the ages (Arizzi and Cultrone 2021, white (Gliozzo 2021); and organic pigments (Aceto 2021). An Ergenç et al. 2021, Lancaster 2021, Vitti 2021). An insight into overview of the use of inks, pigments and dyes in manuscripts, their production, transport and on-site organisation is further pro- their scientific examination and analysis protocol (Burgio videdbyDeLaine (2021). Furthermore, several issues 2021) and an overview of glass-based pigments (Cavallo concerning the degradation and conservation of mortars and plas- and Riccardi 2021) are also presented. Furthermore, two ters are addressed from practical and technical standpoints (La papers on cosmetic (Pérez Arantegui 2021)and bioactive Russa and Ruffolo 2021, Caroselli et al. 2021). (antibacterial) pigments (Knapp et al. 2021) provide in- The second group of contributions is focused on pigments, sights into the variety and different uses of these materials. starting from a philological essay on terminology (Becker in Introduction This article is part of the Topical Collection on Mortars, plasters and pigments: Research questions and answers The history of Roman painting is mainly a history of wall * Monica Salvadori painting. Instead, there is almost no or scarce evidence of monica.salvadori@unipd.it portable paintings on wooden panels (the Fayum mummy portraits and the pinakes—boards—from Pitsà represent pre- Clelia Sbrolli cious exceptions), or other types of support like marble, of clelia.sbrolli@gmail.com which the monochromata of Herculaneum are a famous/ paradigmatic example (Sampaolo 2009; Lenzi 2016). University of Padua, Padua, Italy 187 Page 2 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Frescoes have been found in diverse conditions, either they (Barbet 2016; Groetembril 2016). Archaeometric analyses had remained in situ, i.e. in the original context which they might contribute to studying wall paintings as well; through belonged to, or fallen in fragments following the wall’scol- such techniques, we might acquire better knowledge of pig- lapse or reused as debris in different contexts—even in land- ments, mortars and plasters, both in terms of technological, fills (Carrive 2017). economic and commercial implications (Aliatis et al. 2010; As regards in situ frescoes, the Vesuvian area (Southern Béarat et al. 1997;Becker in press). Italy) offers exemplary evidence; it has attracted great interest Thereby, putting together all the aspects of wall painting from scholars since the discovery of Pompeii and production allows to reconstruct the characteristics of the ar- Herculaneum. It has been repeatedly emphasised indeed that chitectural context, the technical know-how of the craftsmen the frescoes preserved in situ – that is, as an integral part of and the economic and social value of the paintings. the building – qualify the function of the rooms, contribute to Since this is an artisanal product (Bragantini 2004), the defining the paths of use of the building itself, and may also quality of the materials, the craftsmen’sskills and the tech- reflect the patrons’ ambitions and social level (Wallace- nique are fundamental to understand the value of the wall Hadrill 1994). Recently, it has also been observed how much painting and the message that the patron wished to communi- the typology and lexicon of the so-called Pompeian styles cate through the use of elaborate schemes, expensive colours have influenced studies in Roman painting (Bragantini or certain mythological themes. 2019). Nonetheless, it should be noted that the corpus of wall Wall paintings are indeed an instrument of personal propa- paintings found in different areas of the Roman Empire has ganda of the dominus within his own home. Such propagan- increased in recent decades; such evidence is most often frag- distic function of wall paintings thus leads to the development mentary and lacunose, difficult to fit into an overall scenario of the “styles” and the craftsmen’s technical skills, and the though (Dubois and Niffeler 2018). dissemination of models considered to be meaningful The need to improve documentation highlights the impor- (Bragantini and Sampaolo 2009;Flohr 2019). tance of collecting fragmentary paintings during archaeologi- For the sake of synthesis, within the limited space of cal excavation: great attention must be paid to recording the this paper, it is not possible to go deep into the analysis of connections between the fragments, which must be numbered, the various perspectives related to Roman wall painting. documented through photographs and by means of surveys, in For this reason, this paper will rather provide a general order to facilitate subsequent remounting. The phases of re- overview of the topic. The first part offers a brief insight covery and reassembly are extremely important because they into the ancient written sources concerning wall painting, allow to enrich a documentation that otherwise would remain while the second and third sections focus respectively on only circumstantial (Barbet 2016; Groetembril 2016). the technique of execution of the support (the laying of In order to reconstruct large portions of the painting from the different coats of plaster, their consolidation, the use its fragments, a careful analysis of the “key elements” is es- of guidelines and preparatory sketches for the basic out- sential: on the surface, it might be possible to detect the direc- line of the decorative system), and on the painting tech- tion of the brushstrokes, distinguish the streaks left by the niques and the process of finishing the paint film. brush or identify the preparatory marks (see paragraph The central part of the paper is dedicated to the concept of Sketches, outline incisions and corda battuta (chalk-line). “style” as far as it has been applied to the decorative systems On the fragments’ back, instead, it might be possible to see of Roman wall painting, offering a diachronic overview of this the traces of the wall masonry, or the expedients used to fa- production between late Republic and early Empire. It pro- cilitate the adhesion of the plaster to the roofs. In the latter vides examples of the first models of Greek derivation popular case, in fact, the negative grooves of the canes that formed the in the second-early first century BC (first style), the articulated structure to which the ceiling frescoes adhered might be of systems of perspective architectures that dominated the first great help. To recognise elaborate or partially preserved dec- century BC (second style), the fictitious ornamental systems orative motifs, the researcher uses his/her experience and typical of the Augustan age (third style), in which the figura- knowledge of ancient paintings, as if he/she “mentally tive paintings stand out against monochrome backgrounds, browses” through a corpus of images (Barbet 2016; and the eclectic creations in vogue immediately after the mid- Groetembril 2016). dle of the first century AD (fourth style), when the return of The fragments are then reassembled by placing them in unreal architectural perspectives is combined with flat back- sand boxes so that they are stable on a uniform level. Once grounds hosting “flying” figures and small paintings in the the surfaces have been recomposed, they are documented centre. graphically and photographically. When possible, a digital The last part of the article explores what were the figurative or 3D graphic reconstruction of the painting and its architec- repertoire—a key to understand the qualitative level of the tural context is also elaborated that will allow a better reading decorative systems and the ambitions of the patrons—and of both the painting and the context and facilitate the display the most fashionable models in vogue from the late Republic Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 3 of 30 187 to the early Empire, namely megalographies, mythological human body modelling and use of foreshortening images. A paintings, garden representations and landscapes. clear example are the extraordinary paintings of Vergina, such as the well-known frieze with a hunting scene in the so-called Tomb of Philip or the scene of Persephone’s abduction in the Ancient sources homonymous tomb (Brecoulaki 2006). Pliny’s pages also reveal the names of some painters who Sed nulla gloria artificum est nisi qui tabulas pinxere. worked in Rome between the Republic and the First Empire. (Plin., Nat. XXXV, 118 à XXXV, 37, 118) These names suggest that in the middle Republic painting was Pliny the Elder’s passage explicitly states that only paint- sometimes practised by members of the aristocracy. For ex- ings on wooden panels were considered the work of a true ample, in 304 BC, Fabius Pictor, a descendent of the (noble) artist; on the contrary, wall paintings, which were very popu- Fabii family, was commissioned to decorate the Temple of lar in the decoration of any house at Pliny’s time (early Roman Salus: the painter, who is also mentioned by other literary Empire), were only expressions of the house owner’sluxury authors like Cicero (Tusculanae disputationes, I, 2.4) and and wealth. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ant. Rom. XVI, 3.6), should These reflections (of Pliny) are to be taken into account have painted historical episodes from the second Samnite when analysing ancient Roman painting. war that became famous for the quality of the drawing and Book XXXV of the Naturalis Historia mentions several the use of chromatic mixtures. Much later, in the second cen- names of illustrious Greek painters, including Panaenus, the tury BC, the poet Pacuvius realised the paintings in the brother of Phidias, who painted the battle of the Athenians Temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium, dedicated by against the Persians, and Polygnotus from Thasos, who Scipio Aemilianus: it is very likely that he painted frescoes painted, among others, the Stoà poikile in Athens, Zeuxis, representing the battle of Pidna (168 BC), where the Parrhasius and Apelles, to name but the most distinguished Aemilianus fought and won against Perseus of Macedon. masters. Many of these artists’ works were brought to Rome By mentioning these artists, including also the knight as spoils of war during the Roman conquest of Greece; some Turpilius from Venetia, whose notable artworks can be seen in of them gave birth to Rome’s famous public pinacothecas Verona, Pliny emphasises that painting was seldom practised by (pictures-galleries), such as the one in the Porticus of high status citizens. The aforementioned aristocrat artists are to Octavia. Public galleries, in their turn, soon inspired to the be considered exceptions to the rules indeed, as while drawing citizens a desire of cultural appropriation and, consequently, was part of Greek aristocrat education, in the Roman world, it the development of a veritable art market. was not considered worthy of the same consideration and only Unfortunately, most paintings made on wooden panels got men of humble rank usually worked as painters. lost over the centuries. References to some of these master- During the second and first centuries BC, with the Roman pieces can be found in their copies and imitations in wall nobilitas’ growing passion for collecting Greek artworks, paintings or mosaics floors. Among all the examples, it is many Greek painters came to Rome. The Athenian painter sufficient to mention the famous mosaic in the House of the Metrodoros, for instance, who was also a notable philosopher, Faun in Pompeii representing the battle of Alexander the was called upon by L. Aemilius Paullus to realise the paintings Great against the Persians, likely a reproduction of a fourth to be paraded during his famous triumph of 167 BC. The century BC work by the painter Philoxenus of Eretria. painter Alexander Demetrios, who lived in Rome in the mid- Referring to past sources, Pliny also reports that between dle of the second century BC, was called the topographus,a the end of the fifth and the fourth century BC, Greek painters title variously interpreted either as painter of topia/places, re- fully mastered the rules of perspective and were completely ferring to the genre of landscape painting, or as painter of aware of the potential offered by the chiaroscuro.In particu- cartographic maps (La Rocca 2004). lar, the painter Apollodorus, known as the skiagraphos (i.e. Book XXXV of Pliny’s Naturalis Historia is thus an indis- the “painter of shadows”), who lived at the end of the fifth pensable source not only for understanding the development century BC extended the use of the chiaroscuro from the of Greek painting, but also for interpreting the social implica- rendering of architecture (a field already experimented by tions of Roman wall painting. Agatharchus of Samos, the painter of Aeschylus’ stage set- Book VII of the De Architectura by Vitruvius, an architect tings (Rouveret 1989) to the representation of the human active in the second half of the first century BC, is another body. fundamental reference for two reasons: first, because of the Archaeological discoveries made over the last 50 years, valuable information it provides regarding the technique of especially those relating to the cist graves and chamber tombs plastering and preparation of the pictorial surface and, second, of Macedonia, have provided evidence of the high level because it synthesises the evolution of the wall decoration reached by Greek painting during the transitional phase from systems, thereby providing an unavoidable basis for the Classical to the Hellenistic age in terms of space rendering, interpreting the “styles” of Roman painting. 187 Page 4 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 At the beginning of chapter 5 (Vitr. arch. VII 5,1), fuerunt. Quemadmodum enim potest calamus vere Vitruvius describes the wall decoration fashion trends appre- sustinere tectum aut candelabrum ornamenta fastigii ciated by the “ancients”: “Namque pictura imago fit eius quod seu coliculus tam tenuis et mollis sustinere sedens est seu potest esse, uti hominis aedificii navis reliquarumque sigillum aut de radicibus et coliculis ex parte flores rerum, e quibus finitis certisque corporibus figurata dimidiataque sigilla procreari?” similitudine sumuntur exempla. Ex eo antiqui qui initia ex politionibus instituerunt imitati sunt primum crustarum marmorearum varietates et conlocationes, deinde coronarum Preparation techniques et siliculorum cuneorum inter se varias distributiones” . Later on, the Roman architect lists more in detail the figu- How painters’ workshops were composed and organised rative elements, which in some cases are related to the char- is much debated within the scientific community; indu- acteristics of the settings (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2): “Postea ingressi bitably, they included artisans from various social back- sunt ut etiam aedificiorum figuras, columnarum et fastigiorum grounds (slaves, liberti, offreed status -Esposito 2009; eminentes proiecturas imitarentur, patentibus autem locis uti Plisecka 2011) and comprised apprentices and craftsmen exhedris propter amplitudines parietum scaenarum frontes with specific tasks. Scholars have formulated two main tragico more aut comico seu satyrico designarent, hypotheses. Some scholars have assumed that painters’ ambulationibus vero propter spatia longitudinis varietatibus workshops were composed of independent workers who topiorum ornarent ab certis locorum proprietatibus imagines were called upon to work from time to time, depending exprimentes. Pinguntur enim portus promuntoria litora on the building. Other scholars (instead) have supposed flumina fontes euripi fana luci montes pecora pastores, the existence of fixed teams of painters (Allison 1995; nonnulli locis item signorum megalographiam habentes Esposito 2009; Moormann 1995a, pp. 109; 174-175). deorum simulacra seu fabularum dispositas explicationes, Moreover, it cannot be excluded that, in the case of a non minus Troianas pugnas seu Ulixis errationes per topia, particularly demanding commission, a specific team ceteraque quae sunt eorum similibus rationibus ab rerum could be gathered together according to single workers’ natura procreata” . specific skills and expertise (Settis 2006; Esposito Lastly, Vitruvius strongly criticises the fashion trend of his 2009). Nevertheless, the complexity of some decora- own time, i.e. that emerging in the last decades of the first tions, the speed and manifold tasks required to execute century BC (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 3-4). a fresco suggest that permanent workshops of painters “Sed haec quae ex veris rebus exempla sumebantur, used to close and steady cooperation existed (Esposito nunc iniquis moribus inprobantur. Nam pinguntur 2007, 2009, 2011, 2016a, 2016b). tectoriis monstra potius quam ex rebus finitis imagines The rhythm of work was articulated by the plaster’s certae. Pro columnis enim struuntur calami, pro fastigiis drying time and required numerous craftsmen to work appagineculi cum crispis foliis et volutis, item candela- simultaneously. Each one therefore had specific roles bra aedicularum sustinentia figuras, supra fastigia earum and tasks that were based on his experience and skills surgentes ex radicibus cum volutis teneri flores habentes and worked according to a well-established practice. A in se sine ratione sedentia sigilla, non minus coliculi unique example of labour organisation is the so-called dimidiata habentes sigilla alia humanis alia bestiarum Stele of Sens (the Gallic Agedincum), dating to the sec- capitibus. Haec autem nec sunt nec fieri possunt nec ond to third century AD. This is a funerary monument representing a work scene: on the left, seated on a “For by painting an image is made of what is, or of what may be; for example, men, buildings, ships, and other objects; of these definite and circumscribed bodies, imitations are taken and fashioned in their likeness. Hence the ancients who first used polished stucco, began by imitating the “But these which were imitations based upon reality are now disdained by variety and arrangement of marble inlay; then the varied distribution of fes- the improper taste of the present. On the stucco are monsters rather than toons, ferns, coloured strips”—F. Granger, Trans. definite representations taken from definite things. Instead of columns there “Then they proceeded d to imitate the contours of buildings, the outstanding rise up stalks; instead of gables, striped panels with curled leaves and volutes. projections of columns and gables; in open spaces, like exedrae, they designed Candelabra uphold pictured shrines and above the summits of these, clusters of scenery on a large scale in tragic, comic, or satyric style; in covered prome- thin stalks rise from their roots in tendrils with little figures seated upon them at nades, because of the length of the wall , they used for ornament the varieties of random. Again, slender stalks with heads of men and of animals attached to landscape gardening, finding subjects in the characteristics of particular places; half the body. for they paint harbours, headlands, shores, rivers, springs, straits, temples, Such things neither are, nor can be, nor have been. On these lines the new groves, hills, cattle, shepherds. In places, some have also the anatomy of fashions compel bad judges to condemn good craftsmanship for dullness. For statues, the images of the gods, or the representations of legends; further, the how can a reed actually sustain a roof, or a candelabrum the ornaments of a battles of Troy and the wanderings of Ulysses over the countryside with other gable ? or a soft and slender stalk, a seated statue? or how can flowers and half- subjects taken in like manner from Nature”—F. Granger, Trans. statues rise alternately from roots and stalks?”—F. Granger, Trans. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 5 of 30 187 ladder, the redemptor (the master builder) is intent on Characteristics of tectorium and preparatory layers of consulting a scroll, which perhaps reproduces the gen- mortar eral sketch of the decoration to be transposed to the wall; below, on the right, near the scaffolding, a worker Archaeological evidence confirms what literary and icono- wearing a short tunic, probably an apprentice, is mixing graphic sources report about execution phases and craftsmens’ lime, sand and water to prepare the plaster. Above him, work so that it is possible to attribute each operation to its on the scaffolding, the tector (plasterer) is applying the executor. Plaster, or tectorium, was applied to the walls in a mixture to the wall using a float, while next to him series of successive and progressively thinner layers by crafts- another craftsman is drawing the basic lines of the dec- men called tectores, who were assisted by slaves or young oration by brush on the upper layer of plaster (infra apprentices mixing the lime. Unlike Vitruvius and Pliny’s intonachino)(Adam 1988). descriptions (recommending seven and five preparatory layers The Stele, like a freeze-frame, offers a snapshot of the respectively—Vitr. arch. VII 3, 7; Plin. nat. XXXVI, 176 à different activities underlying Roman wall painting and shows XXXVI, 50, 176), layers of tectorium documented in archae- the craftsmen and operations that are indispensable to execute ological sites generally do not have more than three or four. agood “afresco” decoration (Fig.1). They represent an exception of some contexts of imperial property though, whose decorations are particularly precious both in terms of technical execution and decorative repertoire (like the tablinum of the House of Livia on the Palatine, the Villa della Farnesina in Rome and the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta, having six layers of plaster, or the Aula Isiaca on the Palatine,presentingfour—Jacopi 2007;Vlad Borrelli 2015). The first layer of plaster, called trullissatio, was an inner plaster layer directly applied onto the surface of the wall in order to make it more regular. The arriccio (harenatus)was then laid on; it was rather coarse as well and consisted of lime mixed with sand or pozzolana and medium-sized inclusions such admixture, gravel and/or fired clay. Then, the outer plas- ter layer (intonaco) was laid on; it had finer grained aggregates consisting of marble dust or, more frequently, sparry calcite (Daniele and Gratziu 1996). The last render layer (intonachino) was then applied and painted; usually, it has the same composition of the lower layer, but its grain size is even finer. Sometimes, red pigment was added to the plaster mixture in order to optimise the surface that would be painted and calibrate the intensity of the colours (supplementary fig- ure - section of plaster fragment with pigmented intonachino). Lastly, the plaster was smoothed and polished with a flat tool similar to a spatula (liaculum), and the pigments were applied (Barbet and Allag 1972;Barbet 1998;Barbet 2000; Bianchi 2009; Esposito 2009). When a fresco decoration lacks one of these fundamental layers (arriccio, intonaco or intonachino) or has not been executed following to process described above, the result is a fairly cursory work which does not last (Vitr. arch. VII 3, 8). Plaster anchoring systems In order to facilitate the adhesion between the plaster and the surface of the wall while also avoiding detachments between the layers of the tectorium, Roman painters used various an- choring systems (Barbet and Allag 1972;Abad Casal 1982). Fig. 1 Sens stele and its graphic restitution (Donati 1998, p 105) The imprints left by such anchors on the back of the fragments 187 Page 6 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 make it possible to recognise the technique and features of the and (9) of the Caseggiato degli Aurighi in Ostia (III, wall surface. X), where during the enlargement of one of the two A frequent type of anchoring system consisted of making contiguous rooms, the old frescoes ware pecked and incisions or grooves in the damp plaster, either by hand (chev- new ones painted over them (Fig. 2c—Falzone 2007). rons/keying patterns) or using a trowel to create a geometric or Other times, probably due to lack of money or time, the herringbone pattern, as shown by the Gallo-Roman House of surface is simply repainted by applying a layer of lime- the Messii at Vaison-la-Romaine (Fig. 2a—Ling 1991). water over the old fresco, without pecking. However, Another diffuse adhesion system was spatulating, that this technique resulted in poor, low-quality decoration. is, laying on unsmoothed layers of plaster to create a With regard to the decoration of ceilings, the incannucciata rough and irregular surface and inserting ceramic frag- (reed leaves wattle) allowed to create a light but resistant an- ments in the first layer of plaster worked well too. Both chor (Vitr. arch. VII 3, 2). It was made using bundles of reeds these methods, used in combination, are attested in or other plants tied together with ropes and proved useful for room (29) of the House of M. Epidius Sabinus (IX, 1, covering both flat ceilings and vaults. 22-29) in Pompeii (Fig. 2b). The addition of fired clay The incannucciata left its imprints on the back of the plas- pieces produced an irregular surface suitable for anchor- ter (arriccio), which appear like deep parallel grooves crossed ing subsequent plaster layers indeed. The most wide- by perpendicular incisions corresponding to the bindings. The spread technique though, which was used especially analysis of these imprints makes it possible to estimate the for re-decoration works, is chiselling. It consists of diameter of the bundles of reeds and how they warped pecking the surface of a fresco to be obliterated in order (Fig. 2d). to make it rough and thus proper for a new fresco painting. This system permitted to quickly renew the Sketches, outline incisions and corda battuta (chalk- decoration of one or more rooms creating a good qual- line) ity tectorium without removing the previous layers of plaster. A clear example of this practice is represented Once the tectorium had been applied, the pictores (painters) by the successive decorative phases visible in rooms (8) laid out the design and decorative element in the wet plaster. Fig. 2 a Wall plaster with herringbone pattern, House of the Messii, Vaison-la-Romaine (France) (Ling 1991, p 198). b Spatulating and insertion of ce- ramic fragments, Casa di M. Epidius Sabinus (IX, 1, 22- 29), Pompeii (photo by author). c Pecked surface, Caseggiato degli Aurighi, Ostia Antica (photo S. Falzone). d Imprints of incannucciata, Narbonne (Capus and Dardenay 2014, p 111) Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 7 of 30 187 To draft the fundamental lines of the decoration, painters Instead, the painters who executed the huge figures of ath- often used a line-snapping technique (chalk-line): they fixed a letes and architectural features on the walls of the porticus (f) string (often soaked in ochre) to the wall with two nails and of the Palestra degli Iuvenes (VIII 2, 23) were guided by stretched and bounced it on the fresh plaster in order to imprint preliminary soot sketches. Due to the deterioration of colour vertical or horizontal guidelines (Fig. 3a). This technique was and the detachment of the paint film, it is possible to recognise also useful to trace the lines of geometric decorative systems the preliminary drawings, originally covered by successive or repetitive patterns (wallpaper/Tapetenmuster), which were layers of colour. very common in ceiling decoration (Ling 1991). Preparatory sketches drawn directly on the plaster could The most complex figurative elements instead were executed also be used as a test or model for the decorative elements to tracing over a preliminary sketch drawn on the intonachino just be executed. before applying the paint. Such drawing, similar to the Particularly striking examples are the Corinthian cap- Renaissance’s sinopia, was traced with a brush, usually in ochre ital sketched in yellow and red ochre along the south or soot, to outline the main elements of complex figurative com- wall of the cubicle (k) of the House of Ceres in positions, single figures or other decorative motifs. A remarkable Pompeii (I 9, 13-14) and the peacock feather traced in example of sinopia is the famous incomplete painting in room soot black on the northern wall of the fauces of the (12) of the House of Painters at Work (IX 12, 9) in Pompeii. In House of the Wooden Partition in Herculaneum; both the centre of zone 2, on the northern wall, it is possible to distin- these preliminary drawings were revealed due to the guish the preparatory drawings on the white background of the deterioration and fall of the paint film, which laid bare plaster; made with a brush soaked in an ochre pigment, they were the intonachino (PPM II). used to sketch the people in a crowd (Esposito 2016a). The lower In the first case, the capital being larger and out of portions of at least two male figures can be recognised; the both alignment as compared to the other capitals painted in of them are wearing short tunics and are advancing from right to the room, it might be argued that it was a test sketch left towards a seated female figure. The woman is draped in a the pictor made when setting up the decorative parti- long robe; the sketches of its soft folds are detectable as tions in order to define their shape and size (Fig. 3c). In well (Fig. 3b). the second case, instead, the feather seems to have been a Fig. 3 a Imprint of chalk-line, Sarno Baths (VIII 2, 17), Pompeii (photo by author). b Sinopia, Casa dei Pittori al Lavoro (IX 12, 9), Pompeii (photo A. Malgieri). c Preparatory sketches, Casa di Cerere (I 9, 13-14), Pompeii (PPM II, p 223) 187 Page 8 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 reference model for the correct execution of the decorative Painting techniques motif that would be realised in the frieze. Along with sinopias, preparatory incisions were common Affresco, mezzo-fresco, a secco, surface treatment as well. These preliminary sketches were engraved on the wet and finishing plaster using a sharp tool and could be executed either free- hand or using rulers and squares (direct incisions), depending Drawing on Vitruvius and Pliny, Roman wall painting has on the decorative element to be reproduced (Fig. 4a), or by traditionally been thought to be entirely “afresco” (Vitr. arch. tracing over a model (indirect incisions). For designing circu- VII; Plin. nat. XXXV). However, archaeological evidence lar or semi-circular motifs, painters used compasses, whose shows ancient pictores that were well versed in the timing mark is easily recognisable from the perfect circumference and practices of fresco painting using different techniques and the hole in the centre of it (Fig. 4b). Indirect incisions, for the various phases of the wall decoration (Vitr. arch.VII on the other hand, are characterised by clear, rounded contours 3, 8: “Itaque tectoria, quae recte sunt facta, neque vetustatibus and regular, continuous mark; they are particularly useful for fiunt horrida neque, cum extergentur, remittunt colores, nisi si outlining the shape of a figure or defining figurative details parum diligenter et in arido fuerint inducti. cum ergo ita in (Malgieri 2013; Salvadori et al. 2015)(Fig. 4c). parietibus tectoria facta fuerint, uti supra scriptum est, et Fig. 4 a Incisions, Palestra degli Iuvenes (VIII 2, 23), Pompeii (photo C. Boschetti). b Mark of compasses, Casa I E/F, Hellenistic-Roman quarter, Agrigento (Lepore, Caminneci 2019). c Preliminary sketch of a griffon, Casa della Fontana Piccola (VII 8, 23), Pompeii (Ling 1991, p 203) Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 9 of 30 187 firmitatem et splendorem et ad vetustatem permanentem completed (Fig. 5). The tector prepared and laid on the virtutem poterunt habere.” )(Barbet 1998;Barbet 2000; tectorium, and the pictores parietarii drew the decoration’s Esposito et al. 2011). compositional lines on the plaster and began to apply the Frescoing consists of applying colours thinned in water “a colours of the background. When creating complex decora- fresco” directly over damp plaster, while in drying, the plaster tions or painting large rooms, the craftsmen worked in zones “incorporates” the colours, creating a compact and resistant and applied as much plaster as required by the amount of work film of calcium carbonate. This process, called lime carbon- they thought they would complete in a day. On the frescoed ation, is caused by the reaction between the plaster’sslaked wall, it is possible to detect both the giornate (working days), lime and the air’s carbon dioxide (Ca(OH) +CO = CaCO + namely the daily layers of plaster which correspond to the 2 2 3 H O). Evaporation of water from the plaster mixture causes vertical breaks in the decoration or to the outline of complex calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH) ) to migrate towards the surface figurative elements, and the pontate (scaffoldings), the hori- of the wall and, after crossing the paint film, react with carbon zontal breaks corresponding to the position of the scaffolding. dioxide (CO ) and form calcium carbonate (CaCO ) (Vlad Generally, the pontata coincides with the transition between 2 3 Borrelli 2015). The fresco technique therefore makes it possi- two zones (between zone 1 and zone 2 or between zone 2 and ble to create wall paintings that are stable and long-lasting. In zone 3) and was cleverly masked through the elements of the order for this to happen, however, decorations are to be decoration, such as cornices, friezes or predellas. painted very quickly on damp plaster. Coarse or defective Once the pictores parietarii (wall painters) had drawn the painting on a nearly dry plaster leads to a progressive deteri- decoration’s outline and painted the simplest elements (archi- oration of the fresco, which tends to flake off while the colours tectural motifs, repertoire, etc.), the pictor imaginarius (figure lose their intensity. painter) executed the most demanding and complex represen- In order to complete the details of the decoration on an tations. He was the most skilled craftsman of the team and was almost completely dry wall, craftsmen used the a secco or in charge of painting large human figures or mythological mezzo-fresco techniques. In the first case, overpaintings scenes in the centre of the walls, using templates and sketch- (sovradipinture) of pigments mixed with different types of books to imitate famous models inspired from great easel organic binders were added once the plaster was completely paintings (Eristov 1987;Varone 1995). dry. In the second case, the carbonation process was Panel pictures could be executed either in the pain- reactivated using a “lime painting” technique, that is, mixing ters’ workshop or directly in situ. The paintings pro- the pigments with slaked lime or limewater (Mora and duced elsewhere were mounted on wooden frames Philippot 1999; Piovesan et al. 2012). which were then set into the wall (picturae excisae Once all the details of the decoration had been completed, Vitr. arch. II 8, 9; abaci...ligneis formis inclusi Vitr. the wall was smoothed (politiones) to compact all the layers of arch. II 8, 10; excisum opus tectorium Plin nat. colour and make the painted surface shiny. XXXV, 154 à XXXV, 45, 154 and 173 à XXXV, 49, Vitruvius and Pliny also report that walls painted using 173). This is the case, for instance, of the painting with cinnabar pigment were then subjected to waxing procedures. Cupids at work found in House V, 18 in Herculaneum For a long time, this evidence has led to the theory that ancient (Maiuri 1938, 1940) inserted into a box approximately paintings were encaustic paintings (Schiavi 1957-1958, 2 cm deep, or of the paintings with Dionysian subjects 1961). The two Latin authors actually advised to apply wax with wooden frames in the walls of the hall (16) of the to walls painted using cinnabar because they were aware of House of M. Lucretius Fronto in Pompeii (V 4, a). the instability of this pigment, which turns black when ex- “Negative evidence” of the presence of such framed posed to light (Sampaolo 2009). wooden panels are instead the empty slots “saved” for later setting paintings in the atrium (24) of the Praedia of Iulia Felix (II4,3)and in thesalon (q)ofthe House Pontate (“scaffoldings”)/giornate (“working days”) of the Vettii (VI 15, 1) (Salvo 2018). On the other hand, in order to realise such paintings directly in situ, Wall paintings were executed top-down in order to prevent the pictor imaginarius laid on the intonachino over the mortar or colour from damaging the decoration already portion of the wall that had been spared on purpose by the pictores imaginarii during the plastering and execut- ed the painting. In this case, a slight undercutting can be seen around the perimeter of the painting. “Stucco, therefore, when it is well made, does not become rough in lapse of These examples and the retrieval of work tools and cups time, nor lose its colours when they are dusted, unless they have been laid on with pigments in some of Pompeii’s buildings (House I 9, 8- carelessy and on a dry surface. When, therefore, stucco has been executed on 10; Taberna Attiorum IX 2, 11-12 - Esposito 1999;Borgard walls in accordance with these instructions, it will retain its firmness and brilliance and fine quality”—F. Granger, Trans. et al. 2003) are evidence to the existence of places used as 187 Page 10 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Fig. 5 Schematic partition of the wall (Salvadori et al. 2015, p 53) painters’ workshops or studios, where they could execute undergoing a renovation when the Vesuvius erupted (in 79 paintings in wooden boxes, store their tools or prepare the AD), and in room (12), it is possible to see the different stages colours to take to their work site (Esposito 2009). of the work when this was still in progress before being sud- That the pictor imaginarius was of a higher status was also denly interrupted by the volcano. Zone 2 and zone 1 are in- legitimised in antiquity by the Edictum de pretiis rerum complete indeed (Fig. 7)(Varone 1995;Varone and Béarat venalium issued by Diocletian in 301 AD (an edict aimed at 1997). fixing the prices of various goods and services). Probably, two or three apprentices were preparing the Ed. de pretiis 7 (de mercedibus operariorum) mixture for the tectorium, while at least three or four 8 Pictori parietario ut supra diurni denarios septuaginta painters were completing the decorations of zones 1 and quinque 2. Along the eastern wall, some architectural views were 9 Pictori imaginario ut supra diurni denarios centum about to be executed, as suggested by preparatory draw- quinquaginta. ings made in yellow ochre and incisions. Moreover, on The edict states that the pictor imaginarius was paid twice the eastern side of the southern wall, some a secco (150 denarii per day) the pictor parietarius (75 denarii per paintings (sovradipinture) were in progress. In the day) and the other workers in the workshop (Polichetti 2001; north-western corner, the intonachino had just been laid Plisecka 2011). on to apply the black background colour. A pictor As far as these artisans’ tools are concerned, pictores and imaginarius was working on a mythological painting tectores used various instruments. The basic equipment in the centre of the northern wall: he had already made consisted of a mason’s trowel (trulla) and float (liaculum) the sinopia and was beginning to spread the colour for applying and smoothing the plaster, a chalk-line, sharp (Esposito 2016a). Thevertical joints visibleinzone2 tools for incising preliminary sketches on the wet coat, indicate that the elaborate architectural perspectives had brushes (penicillus) of various sizes, mainly made of pig bris- been completed by a painter who was more experienced tles, a plumb bob, rule and line, a set square, compasses and than the one who had executed the simple monochrome cups and amphoras’ fragments for containing and diluting the panels in the middle zone (Varone 1995; Varone and pigments (Ling 1991;Ling 1999;Donati 1998;Barbet and Béarat 1997; Esposito 2016a) Allag 2000)(Fig. 6a, b). Two sets of small bowls containing pigments were found in The most sensational archaeological evidence of how a the room, that confirms that the work was carried out by fresco was executed is room (12) of the House of the several hands simultaneously (Bragantini and Sampaolo Painters at Work (IX 12, 9) in Pompeii. The house was in fact 2009,p. 30). Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 11 of 30 187 Fig. 6 a Cups with Egyptian blue (Pompeii MANN inv. n. 117338) and red ochre (Pompeii MANN inv. n. 112265). b Plumb bob (Pompeii MANN inv. n. 76661), compasses (Pompeii, IX 8,7) MANN inv. n. 118226) and set square (Vesuvian area MANN inv. n. 76689) (Donati 1998 pp 201-206) Fig. 7 Casa dei Pittori al Lavoro (IX 12, 9), Pompeii, room (12) east wall (Esposito 2016a, p 178) 187 Page 12 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Decorative schemes decorated with refined ornaments—their mythological themes suiting the atmosphere of the new political order. This change The styles of Roman painting and Mau’s theory in houses’ interior decoration is closely related to the changed political and social conditions, to which the craftsmen seem to Chapter V of the book VII of Vitruvius’ De Architectura has offer a concrete response. represented a fundamental reference for the chrono- The first half of the first century AD, a widening social typological classification of the paintings that have come to class being able to afford decorative and figurative systems light in Pompeii and, more in general, in the area buried by the for their houses, saw the development of the fourth style, or eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This classification was last style in A. Mau’s nomenclature. developed by the German archaeologist August Mau at the The decorative choices during Nero’s Principate (54–68 end of the nineteenth century (Mau 1882). AD), characterised by the richness of the materials employed Basing on decorative schemes, coating techniques and fig- in the wall coverings (especially in the use of marble slabs), urative subjects, Mau codified four “styles” termed as (1) in- lead to a loss of interest in wall painting among patrons at the crustation style, (2) architectural style, (3) ornamental style highest level of the social hierarchy and, consequently, to the and (4) last style. Although successive revisions have been disappearance of a coherent and shared repertoire. imposed by the development of studies in Roman wall paint- While the general approach of Mau’s study can still be ing, today Mau’s reconstruction is still substantially valid accepted from many points of view, research has advanced (Bragantini 2014). in the last 30 years. Today, archaeological evidence is inves- First, his chrono-typology considers Pompeian painting as tigated not only in terms of formal aspect, but also in terms of an artistic phenomenon strongly conditioned by technique semantic content, which proves the social imagery linked to (i.e. the fresco, which requires rapid execution) and precise choices of the patrons (see synoptic table). craftsmanship. Second, Mau’s approach highlights the link between wall painting and architectural context and emphasises its “archi- First style (“incrustation”) and its antecedents: tectural function”. Starting from the art-historical perspective masonry style, “zero” style typical of his days, he ends up to propose an archaeological reconstruction, that is, he refers to the characteristics of the The so-called first style or “incrustation style” in Roman archaeological contexts. painting, documented from the middle of the second century The decorative repertoire of the so-called styles is varied by BC, is usually interpreted as an “Italic version” of the so- the craftsmen as to meet the precise requests and needs of the called masonry style or Greek masonry style (Hinks 1933; patrons. It is worth noting that Mau uses the term “system”, Bruno 1969). This aims at reproducing using painted plaster which, in recent times, has been considered to be more appro- and stucco the architectural elements and ornamental features priate as it expresses more clearly the link between the mate- of the opus quadratum—what suggests a clear inspiration by rial (the wall painting), the architectural context and the the construction models of the classical period. craftwork’s function, which mirrors the needs of the patrons The earliest known evidence of masonry style is in Greece (Salvadori 2012). and dates probably to the end of the fifth century BC, as In reconstructing the evolution of Roman wall painting, proved by the stucco and plaster fragments found during the Mau highlights the importance of the phase between the end archaeological excavations in the agora of Athens, of a build- of the second century and the first century BC, when a crucial ing of unclear interpretation, dating at least to the last decade change in houses’ decoration fashion trends occurs that re- of the fourth century BC (Bruno 1969; Guldager Bilde 1993). sponds to the changes in Roman society, now strongly influ- Since the end of the fourth century BC, this system of wall enced by the conquest of Greece and Asia Minor. This leads to decoration spread out widely both in public complexes and the abandonment of the stucco relief typical of the first style in luxury private houses. In the last 30 years, the increase of favour of the exclusive use of frescoes. Complex decorative available documentation has allowed to identify the iteration systems with illusionistic architectures (inspired to Hellenistic of a series of architectonical elements like plinths, orthostats, models) spread out in the houses of the members of the rows of ashlars and cornices, within a wide range of solutions. nobilitas and characterise the large state rooms: this is the These elements were shaped in stucco so as to stick out from so-called second style. the wall and recall the architectonical elements’ structural With the establishment of the Principality of Augustus (27 function. BC–14 AD), the decorative and figurative language of the This attention to the mimetic rendering of the wall’sthree- second style is abandoned in favour of a sober and “classicis- dimensional elements, which has suggested to someone to tic” system. In the third style, or ornamental style, large figu- refer the invention of this decorative system to architects rath- rative paintings stand out against monochrome walls er than painters (Bruno 1969), is combined with an attention Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 13 of 30 187 to chromatic contrasts, obtained by combining monochrome tendencies fluctuating between the masonry style and the Stile backgrounds with panels imitating precious marble. a Zone, i.e. the tendency to organise the wall into horizontal With reference to public buildings, emblematic is the dec- sectors in contrasting colours and the desire to reproduce an oration of the hall of the Hieron of Samothrace (Greece), isodomic wall, also by using stucco to render the projecting mainly dating to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. parts. According to P. W. Lehmann’s reconstruction (Lehmann Paradigmatic is the reconstruction of the wall of the so- 1969), the series of black-painted orthostats covering the low- called House of the Coloured Plaster in Pella (Macedonia), er part of the wall and crowned by a red band with black veins dating to the late third century BC (Fig. 8a). The surface of were overlapped by alternating rows of wide and narrow red the wall is divided into two parts (Pontrandolfo 2002). In the and white ashlars with red veins, bordered at the top by a lower part, a closed wall with orthostats, ashlars and jutting jutting frame. cornices is reproduced with a balanced colour scheme (white, In the upper part of the wall, the inclusion of a further level red, blue and yellow). Instead, the upper part features a three- consisting of a loggia of small Doric pillars sticking out over a dimensional balustrade with a portico modelled in stucco and row of marble-like panels is an innovative solution. Its aim is open towards a fictitious outdoor space rendered through to produce an illusionistic effect. Two examples can be found monochrome blue panels. This evidence proves that the ma- in Delos in the House of the Comedians and the House of sonry style achieved a more sophisticated elaboration in Dionysus (Bezerra de Meneses 1970), where in the gaps be- tween the stucco pilasters a coffered ceiling painted in per- spective along the upper edge is reproduced. Another example in the Vesuvian area is provided by the first style decorative system of the Casa Sannitica in Herculaneum (late second century BC to early first century BC, atrium), where the series of semi-columns is connected to a protruding balustrade with crossed laths in the upper area (Guidobaldi and Esposito 2012). While the example of the Hieron of Samothrace is evi- dence of a mature use of the masonry style in a public build- ing, the evidence relating to domestic buildings in the late Classical period testifies to a rather basic approach. In this regard, the wall decoration of the houses in the city of Olinto (Greece) (Robinson and Graham 1938), founded in 432 BC and destroyed by Philip of Macedonia in 348 BC, is very significant. In most rooms, which seem to have no wall paintings, the use of hydraulic plaster is documented in the bathrooms, while monochrome and polychrome plaster cov- erings are only attested in important rooms such as the andron (men’s room) and the pastas (long porch or room fronting more than one other room) (Bruno 1969). The houses of Olinto document two main decoration types. The first one is very simple and consists of uniform mono- chrome panels (white, beige and, in the best cases, red), while the second type is characterised by a chromatic bipartition between the plinth, that is most often white, and the middle area of the wall, which is usually red. Besides those types, a third one is documented that presents an additional zone be- tween the base and the median area, often rendered in a con- trasting colour or simply separated by an incised line. Rather than the masonry style, the walls of Olinto lacking any real projecting elements are ascribed to the so-called Stile a Zone (zone style). The evidence of domestic decorative systems dating from the end of the fourth century BC to the third century BC is still Fig. 8 a House of the Colored Plaster, Pella (Baldassarre et al. 2002 p limited; nonetheless, the few evidence refer to this phase show 69). b Casa Sannitica, Herculaneum (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, p 59) 187 Page 14 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Macedonia’s domestic spaces, as well as in funerary As for the Italian peninsula, the Stile a Zone and/or mason- monuments. ry style is documented by the fully mature evidence in Apulia The successful development of the masonry style in the (Italy). Residential buildings dating as early as the end of the eastern Mediterranean is clearly documented by the wall fourth to beginning of the third century BC present decorative paintings in the houses of the Greek sixth century settlement systems characterised by, from bottom to top, low bases, rows of Panticapeo (today Kerč, in Crimea), dating to the second of jutting orthostats, horizontal bands, sectors with marbling century. In one of the houses discovered on Mount and cornices moulded in polychrome stucco (ovolo, kymatia, Mithridates, the wall decorations are very elaborate. palmette). The so-called Montarozzi house and the context of Horizontal bands in the form of kymatia (moulding), vegetal San Vito di Salpi (both in Apulia) are emblematic featuring, friezes and cornices with meanders and denticles, either plas- according to the description made at the time of the discovery tically modelled or just painted, sit on top of rows of (Marin 1964), the usual overhanging elements and an upper orthostats, with projecting edges variously rendered in yellow, register decorated with semi-columns and a Doric frieze. red and black to imitate polychrome marble coverings As regards houses’ wall ornament in the Roman-Italic area, (Rostovtzeff 2003 [1913-14]). important data come from the latest surveys in the Regio VI of In the western Mediterranean area, significant archaeolog- Pompeii (Pesando 2011), where the mid-Republic decorations ical records have been found in Sicily (Italy). In Morgantina reveal remarkable similarities with those of the Etruscan-Italic simple wall decorations are documented whose chronology is and Campanian tombs of the late fourth and early third cen- uncertain, oscillating between the middle of the third century turies BC. The decorative systems of the Protocasa del BC to the middle of the second century BC (La Torre 2011). Centauro (VI 9, 3-5), for instance, comprised a high mono- There are monochrome bases (red, white, blue or brown) and, chrome base (yellow or red) extending approximately for two above them, a horizontal band painted in a contrasting colour thirds of the wall or even more, crowned by a frieze with a and two or three rows of blocks with incised margins imitating stylised sea wave. The upper part of the wall had no decorative coloured or veined marble surfaces, closed along the upper elements; it seems to have featured nothing but white back- margin by stucco frames. ground, while in many funerary contexts this part of the wall The absence of orthostats in the lower part of the wall usually hosts figurative motifs. suggests to refer these systems to the Stile a Zone. The wall The definition of Stile Zero has been proposed drawing on decorations of the houses in block II of Heraclea Minoa (dat- similarities with tombs’ decorative systems, including the ing between the end of the fourth century and the second half tomb of Ardea (in the south of Rome—Torelli and of the third century BC—De Miro 1966;La Torre 2011), in Marcattili 2010), which is particularly close in style, and find Lilybaeum (Casa via Sibilla—Griffo 2008) and in Finziade a comparison in Pompeii’s house I, 5, 2, which dates to the (today Licata) are to be ascribed to this system as well. end of the fourth century BC (Brun 2008). Stile Zero is the In particular, the decorative systems of Licata’sHouse 1 style of the prestigious rooms of Campania’saristocratic seem to suit and reflect different functions of the rooms, dating houses—asortof “national” style of Etruscan origin, as sug- between the end of the third century and the first decades of gested by M. Torelli—whose origin seems to be contempo- the second century BC (La Torre 2011). The rooms at the rary with that of the masonry style in Greece. The zero style is ground floor, arranged around a central courtyard, present an characterised by a bipartition of the wall into a high socle and essential decoration in stucco to be referred to the Stile a Zone an upper area and by the preference for a plane structure with- (red base and white middle zone framed at the top in moulded out any frames or relief elements. stucco ). The rooms of the so-called piano nobile (principal Overall, the masonry style includes some variations that floor) instead should have been decorated with a more elabo- can be considered characteristic of the first style, introduced rate system, a sort of simple masonry style, with rows of into the Italic peninsula. With the introduction of a high base overhanging blocks and linear cornices but also kymatia in between the plinth and the orthostats, the illusion of a real wall polychrome stucco, sometimes in association with painted with regular and squared elements gets lost. The base looks friezes with floral motifs. A step forward is documented by like empty and meaningless since, being inserted underneath the peristyle house of Monte Iato, featuring polychrome the orthostats, these are thus deprived of their “supporting” marble-like orthostats that are rather typical of the so-called function and reduced to purely decorative elements. Painters first style. The vast extension and decorative complexity of the working in the Italic context created a new type of wall dec- building as compared to the simpler courtyard houses of oration essentially leveraging its own ornamental effects but Licata testify to the emergence of a new aristocratic class far from the constructive principles of the masonry style around the middle of the second century BC. This phenome- whose repertoire of forms and motifs modelled in stucco it non was largely encouraged by the development opportunities still inherited. (including cultural development opportunities) underscored This is a severe style, inspired by ancient Greek paintings, by the establishment of the Roman Province of Sicilia. very close to the Roman concepts of gravitas and mos Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 15 of 30 187 maiorum (cult of the ancestors). Indeed, in some Pompeian decoration is known as second style or architectural style houses’ rooms, wall paintings in the first style were preserved according to Mau’s terminology. even in buildings that underwent a refurbishment at a time Due to its early date, an extremely relevant evidence is that when this style had already gone out of fashion. This conser- of the Casa dei Grifi on the Palatine (Rome), discovered in vation choice is quite common in the fauces (the entrance 1912 by G. Boni during his explorations of the Domus Flavia. corridor), where first style decorations were usually preserved The domus’ name, due to G.E. Rizzo, is inspired by the stucco as evidence of the domus’ antiquity. Paradigmatic is the case decoration on the lunette of one of the two preserved rooms. of the Casa Sannitica in Herculaneum (late second century Basing on building techniques, the first structure of the house BC), where the fauces (Fig. 8b), the atrium (hall) and the has been dated to the last decades of the second century BC; tablinum (large room at the rear of the atrium) had maintained the wall decoration underwent later transformations around the original impressive first style decorations despite the gen- 90–80 BC. The original decoration system comprises a series eral renovation of the paintings in the other rooms. In partic- of painted Corinthian columns resting on pedestals rendered ular, the large atrium’s superior register is decorated with an in perspective occupying the central area of the wall and scan- impressive stuccoed loggia of ionic half columns connected ning a sequence of alabaster and porphyry-like panels and through a crisscross balustrade (Mols 2005;Guidobaldi and others with a pattern of cubes in isometric perspective Esposito 2012). (Fig. 9a). Theupper part is characterisedbyanashlar The most remarkable example, however, is that of the Casa masonry and architectonical cornices that look like stick- del Fauno (VI 12,2) in Pompeii, one of the city’smost ancient ing out of the wall (Rouveret 2002b). The palette is dom- and distinguished residences, extending over an entire insula inated by a bright cinnabar red conferring the overall dec- for 2970 m (PPM V). Some of the house’s “state rooms”’s oration vivid chromatic effects; this colour choice also first style wall decorations remained untouched from the last reflects the ambition and luxury characterising the wall decades of the second century BC to the eruption of Vesuvius coverings themselves and suit the concrete materiality of in 79 AD, when they were still thought to add to the house’s the painted elements. prestige. Particularly interesting is the entrance vestibule Early evidence of second style are documented also in (fauces), whose coloured marble-like decorations were visible northern Italy, namely in the four halls of the late from the street without neither crossing the doorway. The Republican sanctuary of Brescia (Bianchi 2014). The elabo- panels in the middle zone are to simulate precious alabaster; rate wall decorations are conceived as closed surfaces and nonetheless, their mottled pattern and lithotypes do not exist in correspond to two different schemes. The best preserved one nature. On the upper part of the wall, four small Corinthian is that of room 4: the base features a richly curled velarium columns rest on protruding corbels in front of an illusionistic (drapery), while the middle section presents a series of rectan- façade with a monumental portal in the centre that evokes a gular polychrome pseudo-marble panels separated by bright temple. After crossing the fauces, the guest could then enter red pilasters. The transition to the upper zone is marked by a the large atrium, which was also embellished with first style cornice with perspective meanders, above which is a decorations, the upper register suggesting a sort of second **fictious ashlar masonry. This scheme is further enriched floor through a blind gallery with ionic stucco semi-columns. by the replication of ionic column from which the wall looks The entire layout of the house reveals the adoption of a like being positioned backword. This is an extremely high “Greek” lifestyle. Luxury and pleasure could be associated quality decoration whose value is further enriched by the with the evocation of the heroic deeds of great leaders, as heads of Medusa in the perspective meandering frame, which suggested by the presence of the above-mentioned mosaic of find comparisons in some Hellenistic houses on the island of the Battle of Alexander against Darius (Pesando 1996; Delos, and by the motif of the velarium, which occurs also in Zevi 1998). some second style wall paintings in Pompeii (e.g. Casa del Fauno, Casa di Cerere, Casa del Labirinto), but also in Sicily (Catania, Centuripe) (Baggio and Salvadori 2017). Second style (“architectural-illusionistic”) Also the “closed” surfaces of panels scanned by columns or pilasters are characteristic of a considerable amount of wall Around the last decades of the second century BC, there was a paintings from the Vesuvian area that refer to the first phase of radical transformation in Roman wall painting technique. The the second style. Later on, the upper part of the wall begins to first style’s repertoire of three-dimensional architectonical extend towards an imaginary exterior by means of arches or elements, marble slabs and frames modelled in stucco small frontons open onto outdoor spaces where the top of began to rather be painted on the wall in an illusionistic sacred buildings emerges against the blue background of the manner by playing with light and shadows, what proves sky. The back wall of cubicle (16) (bedroom) of the Villa dei Roman wall painters’ impressive execution skills Misteri in Pompeii (Fig. 9b), famous for its megalography, provides a very clear example of a perspective effect (Mulliez 2014; Beyen 1960). This new system of wall 187 Page 16 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Fig. 9 a Casa dei Grifi, Rome. b Villa dei Misteri, Pompeii, cubiculum (16). c Villa of P. Fannius Synistor,Boscoreale, cubiculum (M) (Mazzoleni, Pappalardo, Romano 2004, p 67, 104, 81) articulated through four levels of deepness. The illusion is middle area of the walls and create a fine effect by mixing further emphasised by the relatively small size of the room natural and architectonical elements which seem to evoke as compared to the large reception rooms. sumptuous palaces or villas. From the fourth decade of the first century BC, the com- The close similarity between these trompe-l’oeil architec- positions gradually become more varied. Podiums, colon- tures and real theatrical scenography has been subject to nu- nades and architectural structures rendered in perspective kind merous considerations by scholars (Tybout 1989). If it is un- of “break through” the wall, beyond which further architec- doubtedly true that the scaenographia (the backdrop of a the- tural or landscape spaces “become visible”. atrical stage) constituted a highly experimented pictorial genre Paradigmatic of such a “deception” is the famous in the ancient world, it is more difficult to understand what cubiculum (M) of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor in meaning Roman patrons attributed to such decorations in the Boscoreale (Naples) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in context of their private life. One aspect seems to have been New York (Fig. 9c). Here, a scenography-like set opens onto accepted that is the desire to simulate regal architecture a series of urban and rustic panoramas arranged symmetrically through theatrical spaces. in both sides of the room. This is likely the concrete transpo- In the final part of his famous text concerning wall painting sition of Vitruvius’ passage devoted to the three types of frons in late Republican, Vitruvius focuses on two pictorial genres: scaenae: tragic, comic and satirical (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2). The topia and megalographiae (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2). The topia are illusionistic spaces “beyond the room” occupy the entire early forms of landscape painting inspired by the development Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 17 of 30 187 of a landscape aesthetics in the Hellenistic period, of which the hunting scenes of the façade of Philip’s Tomb in Vergina (last decades of the fourth century BC) are one of the earliest ex- amples. The megalographiae are large-scale representations of noble subjects, mainly inspired by mythical stories and characters or connected to the Greco-Roman cultural tradition and in particular to the events narrated by Homer (the author of the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey). The most famous ex- amples of megalography are in the Villa dei Misteri in Pompeii and the Villa of Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale men- tioned above. The understanding of these two large friezes raises a number of interpretative questions which we ought better to deal with in the paragraph dedicated to megalographiae. Instead, it is worth dwelling here on the remarkable Pompeian example of the Casa del Criptoportico (I 6, 2-16). The wall paintings adorning the walls of the underground portico, executed around 40–30 BC, show a paratactic se- quence of dark red monochrome panels marked by pilasters in the shape of male and female hermae placed on pedestals and supporting the stucco frames at the top of the wall. Above the panels, between the heads of the hermae, runs a frieze depicting episodes from the Iliad (Fig. 10a). The episodes succeed one another in a clockwise direction beginning from the entrance of the cryptoporticus through the whole U-shaped room. The narration starts from the episode of the plague sent by Apollo upon the Achaeans’ camp, followed by those of the exchange of weapons between Diomedes and Glaucus (the identification is confirmed by the names that label each char- acter in all the scenes) and the duel between Diomedes and Aeneas. The frieze’s episodes do not follow Homer’snarra- Fig. 10 a Frieze narrating episodes from the Iliad, Casa del Criptoportico tion, the two scenes with Diomedes being reversed as com- (I 6, 2-16), Pompeii (photo by author). b Villa della Farnesina, Rome pared to the Iliad. Among the other numerous episodes cubiculum (B) (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, p 211) depicted in the frieze, that of the Thetis delivering Achille’s weapons made by Ephestus training of Achilles’ weapons by Hephaestus is worth mentioning. Thetis, engrossed in her thoughts, is depicted in a corner of the picture, according to The epic scenes, today on view at the Vatican Museums, were once arranged along the upper part of a circa 5.50 m high wall, an iconographic scheme that is completely different from that, more diffuse, of the Nereid looking at the fate of her son, whose middle zone was marked by a sequence of black mono- chrome panels and red-painted pillars in the foreground. As in reflected in Hephaestus’ shield. Not only does this frieze reveal the patrons and artists’ high the Casa del Criptoportico, the Homeric scenes occupied the upper band of the wall and resemble a continuous frieze con- cultural status, but it is also an evidence of a combination of different literary traditions. The last scenes include the arrival stituting an imaginary space beyond the room. The characters, of the Amazons, the subsequent duel between Achilles and identified by some inscriptions in Greek, are reduced to small figures in wide and bright landscapes with steep rocks, sea- Penthesilea and the final escape of Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius indeed, which are no longer taken from the Iliad, shores and trees. The episodes accurately illustrate the Homeric poem and seem to focus mainly on the events that but from the so-called cyclical poems (which dealt with the Homeric heroes and other minor heroes’ adventures in the should have happened along the Italic coasts, including when Ulysses came to the land of the Laestrygones, the cannibal aftermath of the war) (Bragantini 1990). Another extraordinary example of what Vitruvius defines giants, his arrival at Circe’s palace and his journey in the afterlife. With this frieze, the house owner was able to as Ulixis errationes per topia (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 2), i.e. Ulysses’ journey from place to place, is that of the portico of display his fascination with the Homeric tales to his the Domus of via Graziosa in Rome (mid-first century BC). guests, who could play with their fantasy and imagine 187 Page 18 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 the adventures of the ancient heroes as they contemplated drastically reducing the presence of any architectural ele- the lively landscapes. ments. With the disappearance of any illusion of perspective, As far as the development of the decorative motifs is con- it is possible to refer to the third style. This system begins to cerned, one notices a change in the architectural structure typ- spread out around the last decade of the first century BC, when ical of the second style around 30 BC. Illusionistic three- Augustus comes to power. dimensional architectures tend to flatten out into bi- The third style conceives the wall as a plane surface and the dimensional surfaces and to become slenderer, less realistic canonical subdivision into base; the middle and upper part and more ornamental, to eventually reduce to sort of cornices tends to reduce to a sequence of monochrome panels (usually that framed the large figured panels usually placed in the cen- black, red and white), delimited by simple and elegant orna- tre of the wall. The polychromy gets simpler and it is used mental frames. only to highlight the meaningful images. Figurative scenes Columns become slender poles, often “vegetalised”,orare multiply over the walls, sometimes even evoking a picture transformed into candelabra (Bastet and De Vos 1979). gallery. Figurative panel pictures in the centre of the wall with only The fresco cycles of the urban imperial residences clearly a few clearly defined figures are evidence of an aesthetic illustrate this change with regard to both the overall design of choice shaped by the desire for proportion and classical bal- the wall decorations and the new conception of the architec- ance typical of the Augustan age. tural elements losing reality, what was criticised by Vitruvius In the first phase, which corresponds to the Principate of (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 3-4) Augustus, the ornamental repertoire is rendered with extreme One of the clearest examples of this new fashion trend is meticulousness, but it is rather limited and rather ancillary to the Villa della Farnesina, which has been associated to the the general effect of the overall decorative system, which ap- marriage of Agrippa and Julia, Augustus’ daughter. Its pears simple and polished. With reference to the ornamental frescoes have been removed from the site and are now on elements, Egyptian motifs are in line with the lust for “the exhibit at the Museo Nazionale Romano. Particularly interest- exotic” and “the archaic” of the Augustan ruling class. ing is cubicle (B) (Fig. 10b), featuring, along the walls of the One of the most notable examples is that of the Villa of antechamber and the alcove, a pinacotheca with paintings of Agrippa Postumo in Boscotrecase in the Vesuvian area, dated different styles and on various supports. to the last decade of the first century BC. The wall decorations The beautiful scene in the central aedicula (ornamental of the three rooms are partly at the National Museum of pavillo-like structure)—kind of an altarpiece ante litteram— Naples and partly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in representing Ino-Leucothea breastfeeding the infant New York. Here, there are no references to illusionistic archi- Dionysus in a Hellenistic-style landscape is accompanied tectures, and the wall is rather characterised by the presence of on both sides by paintings with scenes of female paideia large monochrome panels articulated by detailed and refined (education) on a white background and characterised by a decorations. classical-style balance. The relevance of these pictures The black walls of the cubiculum present slender candela- (which look like painted on marble slabs) is emphasised bra supporting paintings with Egyptian scenes taking place on through the elaborate polychrome frames and the statu- a yellow background (Fig. 11a). The central aedicule is com- ettes of sphinx placed on elegant vegetal half columns posed of thin, almost metallic “columns” and frames small that hold them. Overall, the entire decoration of the landscape views that look like cameos and evoke the land- Villa della Farnesina is sort of an anthology of how paint- scapes of the Villa della Farnesina (Fig. 11b). Even more ings were displayed in private spaces, whether hung on, refined is the decoration of the so-called red room, whose or inserted into, the wall, or resting on, or hold by, a monochrome bright red walls feature in the centre large pic- support. One of the principal themes of the entire decora- tures with “idyllic-sacred” landscapes on a white background tive cycle, almost a fil rouge linking the various rooms’ (Fig. 11c). A third room, probably with white walls, was dec- wall paintings with one another, is that of the landscape. orated with representations of mythological themes in natural One of the most refined examples can be found on the landscapes, like Polyphemus’ love for the nymph Galatea and walls of triclinium C. From the monochrome black walls Perseus freeing Andromeda (Von Blanckenhagen 1962). scanned by miniature columns from which garlands were A similar decorative system can be observed in the Villa draped, vague landscapes emerge as if they were the prod- Imperiale in Pompeii, where the oecus (saloon) A is decorated uct of the viewer’s imagination (La Rocca 2004). with large paintings of mythological landscapes and monu- mental scenes inspired by Cretan cycle, including Daedalus Third style (“ornamental”) and Icarus, Theseus and the Minotaur and Ariadne at Naxos. The abundance of images in this large reception room, de- In a few decades, the decorative features already in nuce in the signed to express the culture of the patron and his passion for collecting, is further multiplied in the upper part of the wall last phase of the second style take over the entire wall, Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 19 of 30 187 Fig. 11 a Egyptian scenes, Villa of Agrippa Postumo, Boscotrecase, “black room” (Baldassarre et al. 2002 p155). b Small landscape, Villa of Agrippa Postumo, Boscotrecase, “black room” (MET inv. n. 20.192.1). c “Idyllic-sacred” landscape, Villa of Agrippa Postumo, Boscotrecase, “red room” (Baldassarre et al. 2002,p 155). d Fall of Icarus Casa del Frutteto (I 9, 5–7), Pompeii (photo by au- thor). e Insula 18, red room, Avanches (Musée Romain d’Avences) (Baldassarre et al. 2002, p 211) by Dionysian representations and six small paintings decorative elements multiply and overlap with one another (pinakes) with portraits of poets like Sappho and Alceus. in fictious ways and overload the entire walls, which receive In particular, the theme of the Fall of Icarus seems recur- compositions of diagonal lines and convex, concave, oval and rent in Pompeian decorations. It is represented in the form of a circular elements as well. In the upper part of the wall, they mythological landscape in the triclinium of theCasadel reappear slender architectures that invade also the middle Frutteto in Pompeii (I 9, 5-7); here the mythological episode zone, flanking the aedicule with the central painting (Bastet is set between sky and earth, thereby giving the painter the and De Vos 1979). possibility to insert more details, such as the astonished spec- The decoration of the tablinum of the Casa di M. Lucretius tators (Fig. 11d). Fronto (V 4, a) in Pompeii (Peters 1993) provides a clear In a more advanced phase of the third style, in the first half example of this later evolution of the third style. The remark- of the first century AD, the sober elegance that characterised able richness of the room is visible on the wall: the architec- the paintings of the Augustan and Tiberian periods is gradu- tural elements typical of the second style reappear but emptied ally abandoned. The palette of walls’ colour becomes more of their structural and realistic value; rather, they are trans- varied, and the chromatic contrasts get more vivid. The formed into ornamental elements. The decoration of the base 187 Page 20 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 represents a closed garden (hortus conclusus) with a gushing covered with multi-level façades, from which single or couple fountain in the centre on a black background. The decoration of figures emerge, are outstanding. The decorative elements of the middle part of the wall instead plays on a series of and frames, especially in the vaults, are populated by fantastic contrasts, namely chromatic, size and content contrast, with figures and objects that are purely ornamental. It was this central red panels hosting mythological paintings (the love decorative richness that fascinated sixteenth-century artists stories of Mars and Venus and of Heracles and the triumph and inspired to them the creation of the grotesques. of Dionysus) flanked by black panels featuring landscape Large figured mythological tableaux are placed mainly on paintings of seaside villas on the Campania coast supported the vaults, especially in their centre. One example is room by elegant candelabra. The upper zone displays a complex (119), the so-called Hall of Achilles at Skyros (Fig.12), which scenography, whose architectural elements are distant from owes its name to the famous mythological episode in the cen- the realism of the second style though. tre of the vault. This is divided into false lacunars outlined by Lastly, it is worth remarking that the stylistic elements and elaborate stucco frames and hosting vignettes or individual wall decoration systems that distinguish the wall painting of figures. The apsidal basin instead is decorated with a shell the first half of the first century AD in the peninsula find with ribs in relief and fanciful “grotesques” rendered through comparisons also in the provinces. The preference for an ever a profusion of various overlapping layers of colour. more complex and imaginative ornamentation and the use of The less important rooms have simpler decorative systems. plain backgrounds, very often monochrome and showing live- The architectural façades are replaced by sequences of plain ly chromatic contrasts between the different parts of the wall, panels outlined by unusual, pierced borders and with small find an echo in the artistic choices of the workshops of pain- landscape paintings depicted with rapid brush strokes ters operating in the different provinces of the Empire, espe- enlivened by white tones, based on light effects. This “impres- cially in the transalpine area and the western extremes. As an sionist” painting technique would then become the example among others, we may cite the “red room” of distinguishing stylistic feature of the late fourth style Avenches (insula 18) (Fig. 11e), the ancient Aventicum,in (Baldassarre et al. 2002; Meyboom and Moormann 2013). Germania Superior,today’s central Switzerland. The mono- The evolution of this style can be followed in the Vesuvian chrome red walls of this room are scanned by twisted columns area, where due to the earthquake of 62 AD the decoration of decorated with vegetal motifs and vegetalised columns from some rooms that had been damaged had to be restored. which ribbons and bunches of grapes are draped, as well as In general, the chromatic contrasts between the various bands with elaborate ornamental motifs (Barbet 2008). parts of the walls get more intense, and, in addition to the black, red and white backgrounds typical of the third style, Fourth style (“intricate”) there are also yellow and blue backgrounds. Most times, the decoration of the middle zone consists of a sequence of panels The innovative style of the Domus Aurea influences the wall decorated with perforated borders (a sort of signature motif of painting of the second half of the first century AD and the the fourth style—Barbet 1981—Fig. 13a) and hosting in their subsequent periods, although recent studies date the first evi- centre “flying” figures or small pictures (Peters 1982). dence of the fourth style before the reign of Nero. In more elaborate contexts, these simple systems are re- From the mid-first century AD onwards, there is a revival placed by complex constructions extending over the entire of the architectural structures, often rendered in perspective, wall to form the background against which mythical events which does not influence the decorative structure of the wall are staged. An example of this is cubicle (A) in the House of though. This represents the main change from the canons of Pinarius Cerialis (III 4, 4.6); in the centre of a complex archi- the third style. The superabundance and creativity of the tectural façade, Iphigenia appears from beyond the portal of fictious architectural frames is married to an overload of orna- the temple of Artemis in Tauris, flanked on both sides by ments and leads to “baroque” compositions. The main char- Orestes and Pylades, who are destined to be sacrificed to the acteristic of the fourth style is its eclecticism, which is likely a goddess, and the Scythian king Toante, who has taken the two legacy of Fabullus, the painter to whom the literary sources heroes prisoners. attribute the frescoes of the Domus Aurea. He enjoyed a One of the most remarkable examples from Pompeii, how- “Mannerist” manner for the use of contrasts, and according ever, is that of the Casa dei Vettii (VI 15, 1), whose frescoes to Pliny, his style was, at once and the same time, solemn and were executed by some of the finest painters of their days severe (gravis ac severus) and brilliant and fluent (floridus ac (Peters 1977; Esposito 1999, 2007, 2009). The median zone umidus)(Barbet 1985 2009; Baldassarre 2002). of the famous reception hall’s walls is occupied by large red What survives of the majestic residence, which extended panels with flying couples in the centre, separated by vertical over eighty hectares, proves its stylistic uniqueness, which is black bands (inter-panels) with gilded candelabra. Under it due not only to the different functions of the rooms, but also to runs the frieze (predella) with genre scenes: cupids and the influence of various painters. The high walls completely psychai are engaged in various work and activities Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 21 of 30 187 Fig. 12 Hall of Achilles on Skyros, Domus Aurea, Rome (Baldassarre et al. 2002, p 226) (Fig. 13b). The decoration of the southern triclinium is even proves a predilection for contrasting monochrome panels more ambitious in terms of contents. Golden yellow panels delimited by ornamental borders. These started to gain an alternate with architectural views standing out against light ever-greater importance in the wall painting structure, as did backgrounds; they host large mythological paintings, includ- also the narrow spaces inserted between the panels in the ing Heracles strangling the snakes, Pentheus torn apart by the middle zone, the so-called inter-panels. Invaded by fanciful maenads and Dirce tied to the bull (Fig. 13c). These paintings decoration, these panels mark the rhythm of the wall to create are very emphatic(/pathetic?) and far from the classical sober- original compositions and a peculiar decorative imprint, des- ness of the Augustan age; the walls’ overall decorative exu- tined to be very successful until at least the fourth century AD. berance is furthered by the proliferation of architectural per- This consists of using a flat two-dimensional compositional spectives. The superabundance of ornamental motifs is even scheme in which the wall is divided into panels and inter- greater in the decoration of the northern triclinium. panels painted in vivid contrasting colours and enlivened by Different features have been recorded in the northern part vegetal and figurative elements, some of which are particular- of the Italian peninsula, in the Cisalpine and in the adjoining ly refined. The most appreciated decorative motifs, especially Gaul. In these provincial territories, the circulation of people in the central zone, include isolated human figures and vi- and artists and the presence of Roman notables entailed an gnettes, landscapes, fishponds and, in the inter-panels, which early acceptance of traditional decorative systems in Roman actually become now the real focus of the decoration, cande- wall painting. Therefore, when in the middle of the first cen- labra and varied vegetal ornaments (Salvadori and Didonè tury AD, Rome and the south converted to the extravagant 2018;Barbet 2009). features of the fourth style, and a local decorative language A remarkable example of these comes from a house in began to develop in the north that partly distanced itself from Aquileia, identified in the area below the Christian basilica. the other. In fact, the archaeological evidence does not show The wall section reconstructed from the fragments found dur- ing the excavation consists of a yellow inter-panel with a fanciful elaborations of architectural perspectives; rather, it 187 Page 22 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 The most famous example of megalography is undoubted- ly that of the frieze of the tablinum (5) in the Villa dei Misteri in Pompeii. Twenty-nine characters belonging to Dionysus’ entourage, both human and mythological, are participating in an initiation into the Dionysian Mysteries or in a wedding (Fig. 14a). To the left of the doorway, a female figure wrapped in a purple and gold cloak, her head veiled, sits on a bench, her chin resting on her right hand while she is reflecting and watching the scene unfolding along all the walls of the room. Dionysus occupies the focal point of the eastern wall, in front of the main entrance to the room. The god is inebriated and reclining on the lap of a seated female figure. The other figures are represented in groups and “freeze” different moments of the sacred mythical-ritual and mythical-ecstatic ceremony. To the left of the divine couple (Dionysus-Semele/Ariadne/ Venus), an old Silenus, seated and holding a large tympanum (behind him), offers a silver cup to a young satyr who, looking into the cup, sees reflected the Silenian mask another young satyr is holding aloft. Fig. 13 a Embroidery border, Casa di M. Fabius Rufus (VII 16, 22), Pompeii (photo by author). b Predella with cupids making perfumes and psychai, Casa dei Vettii (VI 15, 1), Pompeii (Baldassarre et al. 2002 pp 232-233). c Heracles strangling snakes, Pentheus torn apart by maenads, Casa dei Vettii (VI 15, 1), Pompeii, southern triclinium (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, p 337) silver-like candelabrum with a blue-white “umbrella” on top of which stand a pair of felines and a deer. The fragments discovered, some of which comprise portions of figurative scenes, suggest skilled painters worked in Aquileia in the sec- ond half of the first century AD. Figurative repertoire Megalography The term megalography comes from Vitruvius (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 1-4) who, in describing the decorative trends of the so-called second style, mentions the presence of signorum megalographiam,i.e. “monumental paintings of figures” (Rouveret 2002). These near life-size representations are de- Fig. 14 a Megalographia with the mysteries of Dionysus, Villa dei fined as megalographiae to indicate both the monumentality Misteri, Pompeii, tablinum (5). b Fall of Icarus and pinakes,Villa Imperiale, Pompeii (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, pp 106, 243) of the figures and the elevated subject matter. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 23 of 30 187 On the right, a semi-kneeling woman is lifting a purple in Boscoreale. The scenes take place on a red cinnabar back- cloth to show the ritual object placed in the basket in front ground and are slightly larger than life-size. of her. Behind her, a young girl holds a tray with a bunch of Although the identification of the single figures is still de- pine needles, while another winged female figure, the upper bated, it is likely an allegorical commemoration of Alexander part of her body naked, looks back and raises her right arm the Great’s conquest of Asia and, more broadly, a celebration holding a rod, likely to whip the kneeling girl on the adjacent of the Macedonian dynasty. wall. This is probably a representation of the moment of the Macedonia is portrayed as a female figure holding a spear unveiling of the ritual phallus (a symbol of regeneration) dur- and wearing a headdress with a tubular diadem, her shield ing the celebration of the initiation rites. featuring the famous Macedonian star. Another seated woman On the adjoining southern wall, a girl kneels down, her wearing oriental clothes, the personification of Asia, looks at back bare, the hair loose and the eyes closed, on the lap of a her. Next to the two female figures is a half-naked old man seated woman who holds and comforts her. The woman is wrapped in a cloak, whom his long beard and knobby walking dressed in white and her hair is gathered in a cap. On the right, stick suggest to identify with a philosopher (although his iden- a maenad portrayed in three-quarter view is dancing and tity cannot be guessed). His presence is probably linked to the playing cymbals (crotales); another female figure behind her importance that such figures had at the Macedonian court. wearing a long dress, her hair coiffed, is holding a thyrsus. On On the opposite wall (now at the Metropolitan Museum of the opposite (northern) wall, a figure with a swollen mantle Art in New York), there are Alexander the Great’s father, around her head looks back towards the old Silenus and raises Philip II, and his mother Eurydice; a seated female figure her left hand in a gesture of revulsion at the scene she is identified as Olympias, Alexander’s mother, playing the lyre observing. Next to her, two young satyrs are sitting on a rock, and assisted by a handmaids; and a priestess reading the future the man playing a syrinx and the panisca breastfeeding a roe that is reflecting in a mirror (the divinatory practice of deer. Behind them, an elder Silenus resting on a pillar is katoptromanthía), who is prophesying Alexander’s birth, playing a lyre. Three female figures are celebrating a ritual whose image materialises on a golden shield (Smith 1994; around a table (lustratio), while a fourth one comes from the Pappalardo 2013; Bragantini 2009;Bragantiniand left carrying a tray with ritual cakes or flatbreads (a symbol of Sampaolo 2009, pp. 171–172, 178–179). the fertility of the land that yields crops). Behind her a naked boy is reading a rotulo, a seating woman posing her right hand Panel pictures on his right shoulder while clutching a scroll in the other. Next to them, a standing matron in profile and wrapped in a cloak, Since the mid-first century BC, reproductions of paintings of her head veiled, is observing the ritual. various subjects were included in the wall decoration systems. In the south-west corner, a female figure is seated on a stool The taste for painting panel pictures reflects the desire to im- combing her hair, assisted by a handmaiden (ornatrix) and itate the apparatus of the most prestigious residences. The two cupids: one holds up a mirror, while the other looks at creation of private pinacothecae (pictures-galleries) and the her (Ling 1991). parallel reproduction of illusionist galleries in wall paintings The exegesis of the composition is particularly controver- are instances of Roman luxuria, which spread from the late sial, and interpretations are still not unanimous, chiefly due to Republic, when, following the Roman conquest of Greece and both the theme being narrative and mythical/allegorical at a the East, goods of all kinds and valuable objects and artworks time and the intrinsic nature of Dionysian Mysteries, which came to Rome (Torelli et al. 2011). were secret and accessible only to initiates. This is the reason Illusionist galleries of movable paintings with wooden why no literary sources document the initiation rites, allowing frames or shutters (pinakes) hung on the wall or placed on to identify the various moments of the ceremony. shelves aimed at emulating great easel paintings (Fig. 14b). There have been numerous interpretation attempts; the These fictious panel pictures could be of various sizes and most widely accepted one understands the frieze as the initia- represent views of ports or villas, idyllic-sacred landscapes tion of a young female adept in the presence of deities and with small temples populated by shepherds, wanderers or fish- mythical characters. The girl, although still spiritually a child, ermen (Ling 1991;Salvadori 2008; La Rocca et al. 2009), as undergoes trials to be re-born in the cult of the god. According well as Nilotic landscapes with ibises and pygmies (Versluys to another reading, the frieze represents the wedding of a 2002), still lives (Croisille 1965, 2015;De Caro 2001), genre Roman aristocratic girl who is preparing to embrace her new scenes or scenes from everyday life (Clarke 2003;Tortorella status of bride and matron under the aegis of Dionysus (Ling 2009) and, above all, mythological themes (Lorenz 2008; 1991; Patanè 2003; Pappalardo 1982, 2013; Sauron 1998, Salvo 2018). The great mythological paintings selected one 2009). or more of the most significant episodes of a subject or saga Another impressive megalography is depicted in the most indeed, in order for their representations to appear comprehen- important reception room of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor sible and evocative to ancient observers. 187 Page 24 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Each workshop had its own repertoire of models and sketches (Peters 1977), and different characters were depicted repeating the same iconographic schemes. The attributes of each character permitted the viewer to recognise the theme and the moment depicted (Salvo 2018, 2020). The Villa Imperiale’s pseudo-paintings represent one of the most signif- icant examples in Pompeii. The third style paintings of the hall (a) (used as a reception room—oecus) largely survived to the devastating earthquake of 62 AD; instead, those in the upper zone and the vault col- lapsed along with the roof and were restored in the fourth style. The middle zone of each wall consists of a series of red panels separated by thin columns; in the centre, a bi- dimensional aedicula frames a large mythological painting. In the upper zone, six small paintings with open and folded shutters (pinakes) depicting portraits of poets seem to rest on small supporting shelves like they were real. All the mythological paintings in this sumptuous room re- fer to the Cretan world and are likely a reflection the dominus’ desire for an extremely sophisticated and refined decorative apparatus. They include the unlucky flight of Icarus who, having ignored his father Daedalus’ recommendation not to fly too close to the sun with his wax-soaked wings, now lies lifeless on the ground; Theseus killing the ferocious Minotaur and thus freeing the Athenian youths (whom the monstrous creature would have eaten) that are joyfully kissing the hero as a sign of gratitude; and Theseus’ abandoning on the island of Naxos the Cretan princess Ariadne who is sleeping on the Fig. 15 a Painted garden, Villa di Livia ad gallinas albas (Rome, Museo ground while the hero is ready to set sail for his homeland Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme). b Landscapes, Villa (Fig. 14b). The coherence of the mythological themes and della Farnesina, cryptoporticus (f) (Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano, their distribution in the room are evidence of a precise deco- Palazzo Massimo alle Terme) (Mazzoleni et al. 2004, pp 191, 212) rative programme aiming at imitating a private art collection (Pappalardo 1987, 1995, 2013; Mazzoleni et al. 2004; Romizzi 2006). provide the wreaths for the triumphs of the Caesars to come. The decorative system dates likely around 20 BE; its chronol- Gardens ogy is controversial though, as due to the high quality level of the paintings, it is difficult to compare them with any other The illusionist garden of the underground chamber of Livia’s artisanal work. The decoration covers all the four walls of the room completely, and it is interrupted only in the centre of the Villa ad gallinas albas near Prima Porta is one of the best- known examples of Roman wall painting (Fig. 15a). It is the eastern wall by the entrance. Along the baseboard, two fences run parallel to one earliest known example of a painting genre that appeared in another. The one that looks closer to the viewer is yellow Rome in the last decades of the first century BC and whose introduction is believed to be due to imperial patronage. and thick, while the farther one is a marble balustrade; it is decorated with various serial motifs in relief (imitating What was the function of this large underground room of Livia’s estate (whether a cool place to rest in summer, a meet- trellises, gates, and “scales pattern”) and has six quadran- gular niches, two in each of the long sides and one in the ing place connected to the baths nearby, or a nymphaeum) is still debated (Mazzoleni et al. 2004; Sauron 2009). Here, on short ones. All the niches on the long sides stage four fir trees whilethose on theshortsides featureapineand an the day of her wedding with Augustus, Livia was the protag- onist of a prodigious event. Tradition has it that an oak . In correspondence with the short sides’ niches, the first fence has two openings that reveal a narrow eagle clutching a white hen dropped it into Livia’slap. The hen was holding a laurel branch in its beak. Livia planted the ambulatio. A lush garden full of numerous flowering plants, shrubs and trees is visible beyond the balustrade twig, creating a thick wood surrounding the villa that would Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 25 of 30 187 that supports a birdcage. The vegetation includes olean- perched on branches or fly, while two female tragic masks ders, pomegranates, laurel, apples, palms, strawberries, are hunguponthe upperpartofthe wall. myrtles, viburnum and box trees as well as roses, poppies, The quality of these frescoes is outstanding and has been white and yellow daisies and acanthus plants. Numerous compared to two other examples documented in the Casa dei birds are perched on the trees, while others fly high in the cubicoli floreali (I 9, 5-7); someone has argued that the same blue sky along the upper band. This is crowned by a series artists might have worked in both the Pompeian houses in the of light brown motifs that have been variously interpreted first decades of the first century AD (Moormann 1995b). by scholars as stalactites or leaves of a bower or a garland More recent is the large porticoed garden of the Casa della (Settis 2008;Salvadori 2017). The decoration of the barrel Venere in conchiglia (II 3,3), dating to the last phase of vault consisted of stucco lacunars with winged Victories Pompeii’s life. This example is of particular relevance due to that were only partially preserved when this room was dis- the association of the garden painting with a mythological covered in 1863. In 1951–1952, the paintings were de- image. The wall visible in front the atrium is divided into three tached and transported to the Museo Nazionale Romano; parts by large arches that look like imaginary windows. The the detachment laid bare a layer of tiles that had been ap- larger arch in the centre frames the birth of Venus; the goddess plied underneath the plaster to form a cavity that would is lying on a shell, flanked by two cupids. The two side arches insulate the paintings from moisture. instead enclose two gardens on a blue background. The east- More than a hundred years after the discovery of the garden ern one features a marble statue of Mars on the central pedes- paintings in the Villa of Livia, archaeologists are still debating tal, while the western one hosts a circular fountain pouring over whether, given the exceptional conception and formal water. The iconographic motif of the garden, which is iterated execution of these frescoes, they should be regarded as the along all the other walls delimiting the house’srealgarden, is product of an inventio inspired by Livia and the miraculous further enriched here as it develops under the protection and event she had been the protagonist of, or, rather, as a particu- control of the goddess Venus, whose area of action is tradi- larly refined and successful instantiation of a pre-existing tionally related to this space. genre. Whatever the case, this representation seems to have Landscapes influenced the genre of garden paintings, which appear in many other contexts for a long period, especially in the As already discussed, that of the landscape is a pictorial genre Vesuvian area. Among the numerous evidence, the exam- well documented from the Augustan age onwards. Vitruvius ple of the Casa del Bracciale d’oro in Pompeii (VI 17 Insula himself, when describing wall painting decorations, explicitly Occidentalis 42) is worth mentioning. This house is built on mentions landscapes (Vitr. arch. VII 5, 1-2). He refers to a three levels on a slope surface and rests on the city walls. variety of places (topia): ports, promontories, beaches, rivers, The lowest floor corresponds to the base of the walls and springs, sea straits, sanctuaries, sacred woods, mountains, has two rooms built into the supporting arches of the upper flocks and shepherds. The list of topia and the reference to floor; they open a garden with a fountain in the centre and a their “collective” character recur also in Pliny’s Naturalis pergola all around. Both these rooms are completely cov- Historia (XXXV, 116 à XXXV, 37, 116). Pliny’s passage ered by garden paintings. Room (31) is a triclinium with on landscape painting not only broadens the types of places masonry beds and has also a niche at the end of the eastern and the actions of the people therein, but it also adds further wall which is decorated with polychrome mosaics repro- information. He contends that the landscape genre was ducing a garden with fountains and birds. This and the gar- invented by one Studius, who lived in the Augustan age and den paintings all around the other walls generate the illu- who achieved a high reputation with works of beautiful aspect sion of being a real pergola pavillon. The lush garden stands but low cost. There is no doubt that the painter referred to by against a blue sky and is adorned with artefacts of Egyptian Pliny—one of the few names of Roman artists handed down inspiration (sphinxes, Pharaonic statues, paintings of the ox to us—earned his reputation; his style was likely based on an Apis) and fountains. There are oleanders and strawberry established repertoire, with reference to which he created typ- bushes, among which birds of various species fly. Room ified and fantastic images. (32), interpreted as a cubiculum, features a fence with rect- In the above-mentioned complex of the Villa della angular, cuspidate and rhomboidal hole. Above it, a garden Farnesina, landscape paintings on white backgrounds appear full of oleanders, laurel, strawberry bushes, viburnum, not only in the triclinium, but also in the cryptoporticus, where roses and ivy, camomile plants, palm trees and plane trees also the stuccoes on the vault reproduce landscape views. stands against a blue sky. Amidst the vegetation, there are Along the upper part of the walls, landscape paintings alter- circular fountains pouring water and hermas supporting nate with enigmatic still lives comprising masks—an iterative pinakes representing the sleeping Ariadne and a Maenad. decoration typical of transit spaces. The landscapes, rendered Pigeons, swallows, sparrows, magpies and an oriole are in simple tones of green and ochre ranging from brown to 187 Page 26 of 30 Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 yellow, reveal a remarkable creativity in the choice and com- A step forward into the study of Roman provincial wall bination of the elements (Fig. 15b). Alongside the genre paint- painting was Alix Barbet’s 1975 monograph on the paintings ings, portraying both rural and maritime panoramas, they open of Glanum (Southern France), which was supposed to be the views to real landscapes, such as the Isthmus of Corinth, first of a series of volumes dedicated to wall painting in Gaul characterised by Lysippus’ statue of Poseidon. (Barbet 1975). Although this project has later been abandoned Particularly successful at the beginning of the imperial age in favour of a series of publications focusing on single con- were the sacred landscapes; very famous are those depicted in texts, it is worth noting that not only did Barbet’s volume grey on a white background enclosed in the central aediculae mark the birth of prolific French-speaking researches in of the so-called mask room in the House of Augustus on the Roman provincial wall painting, but also a method of investi- Palatine. The meaning of these landscapes paintings—which gation that would drive any subsequent study with regard to do not look like “beyond spaces”—is enriched of a symbolic the analysis of the tectorium—its anchoring to the masonry, value due to the presence of the typical attributes of the compositional characteristics of the layers, the execution Augustus’s protective deities, including the betyle, the of the preparatory drawings on the paint film, the composition aniconic symbol of Apollo (Salvadori 2008). of the pigments and the presence of binders. This new approach revitalised the studies in Roman paint- ing, leading to an increase in the number of publications in the following decades (e.g. Abdal Casal 1982 for Spain) It im- Concluding remarks and future perspectives pacted also on the centennial studies in Roman wall paintings in the Vesuvian area, which began to focus on the production At the end of this overview of Roman wall painting’stech- process and to understand it as artisanal manufacturing only niques and stylistic and iconographic evolution from the from the 1990s onwards. Republic to the Early Empire, it is worth underlying that re- Broadening the perspective, in the last 20 years of the searches in this field as relates to the provinces of the Roman twentieth century, they established the “Association Empire began only after the mid-twentieth century, whereas française pour la peinture murale antique” (AFPMA, in studies in wall painting in the Vesuvian area have bourgeoned 1979) and the “Association internationale pour la peinture since the nineteenth to the present day without pause. As far as murale antique” (AIPMA, officially established in Köln in non-Vesuvian wall painting is concerned, the pioneering work 1989 after three conferences held in Cambridge in 1980, in of W. Drack on the corpus of fragmentary paintings from Paris in 1982 and in Avenches 1986), followed, in 2016, by Switzerland is worth mentioning. His Die römische the “Associazione italiana ricerche pittura antica” (AIRPA). Wandmalerei der Schweiz was published in 1950; it provides These associations are fertile grounds for updating and crit- ical discussion at national and international level and might a rigorous analysis of the wall paintings that had been brought to light in the first half of the twentieth century, integrating pave the way for Roman wall painting to be investigated from descriptions of the decorations with information on the ar- a holistic, global and polycentric perspective. chaeological context and stylistic analyses chiefly based on In the future, it would be desirable to put in practice a more comparisons with the closest evidence in the area (and there- constant integration between humanistic and scientific skills fore not only with Roman and Campanian documentation— that can lead to an accurate diachronic definition of ancient Drack 1950; Fuchs and Dubois 2018). As it has been recently painting styles and techniques. underlined (Barbet 2018), Drack’s work represents a mile- For example, the number of archaeometric studies current- stone in Roman provincial wall painting studies, and its ap- ly available for the Vesuvian area is still very small, both on proach was innovative in that it stressed the relevance of mortars (see, e.g. Castriota et al. 2008;Izzo et al. 2016; Leone interpreting wall decorations in connection to their architec- et al. 2016; Rispoli et al. 2019), and on pigments (see, e.g. tural context. Moreover, Drack documents his tentative recon- Duran et al. 2010; Casoli and Santoro 2012; Castellini et al. structions of any decoration system (or portions thereof) from 2019). Studies unrelated to the evidence of a single site are its fragments with accurate graphic and photographic docu- often focused on degradation issues (Grifa et al. 2016;Merello mentation. Drack’s “global” approach to the study of Roman et al. 2016), while there is a lack of studies aimed at wall painting in Switzerland is more original than S. characterising specific styles. Aurigemma’s corpus of Tripolitania (Northern Africa) paint- Even outside the Vesuvian area, the archaeometric investi- ings, published about a decade later and yet very valuable gations on ancient wall paintings are often oriented to the (Aurigemma 1962). The corpus, illustrated by a remarkable study of single sites (e.g., Hernanz et al. 2008;Gutman et al. number of colour images and graphic reconstructions of the 2016; Guirdzhiiska et al. 2017), and the reference to defined paintings, focuses on the analysis of individual iconographic styles is not always evident. elements but loses sight of a comprehensive insight into the As a further example, among the various examples cited in phenomenon of wall painting. the previous pages, archaeometric studies are often absent. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2021) 13:187 Page 27 of 30 187 Aliatis I, Bersani D, Campani E, Casoli A, Lottici PP, Mantovan S, On the other hand, the recent research carried out by Cuní Marino IG (2010) Pigments used in Roman wall paintings in the (2016) on painting techniques in Roman wall paintings has Vesuvian area. J Raman Spectrosc 41(11):1537–1542 shown how archaeometric analyses may cast doubt on some Allison P (1995) “Painter-workshops” or “decorators’ teams”?In: reconstructions on painting media. Similarly, studies on mor- Moormann EM (ed) (1995a) pp 61–298 Arizzi A, Cultrone G (2021) Mortars and plasters – how to characterise tars and plasters have often found that the “standard” prepa- hydraulic mortars. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. ration handed down from ancient resources was often simpli- https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01404-2 fied or modified. Aurigemma S (1962) L’Italia in Africa. Le scoperte (1911-1943). In: Therefore, an increase in research and an expansion of Tripolitania I. Le pitture d’età romana, Roma results that integrate historical, historical-artistic, archae- Baggio M, Salvadori M (2017) Tessuti, velari e tende nella pittura parietale antica: alcune riflessioni. In: Vidale M, Angelini A (eds) ological and archaeometric data is needed to validate Cupitò M. Beyond Limits. Studi in onore di Giovanni Leonardi, current knowledge and establish meaningful parallels Firenze, pp 209–217 between information deduced from ancient resources, Baldassarre I(2002)la Domus Aurea. In: Baldassarre et al. 2002, historical-artistic studies, archaeological evidence and pp 216-225 archaeometric investigations. Baldassarre I, Pontrandolfo A, Rouveret A, Salvadori M (2002) Dall'ellenismo al tardo antico, Milano Barbet A (1975) Recueil général des peintures murales de la Gaule, I, Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary Narbonnaise, 1, Glanum. XXVII Supplément à Gallia, Paris material available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01411-3. Barbet A (1981) Les bordures ajourées dans le IVe style de Pompéi. Essai de typologie. Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome Author contribution Monica Salvadori: Introduction; Ancient sources; Antiquité 93:917–998 Decorative schemes; The styles of Roman painting and Mau’s theory; Barbet A (1985) (2009) La peinture murale romaine. Les styles décoratifs First style (“incrustation”) and its antecedents: masonry style, “zero” pompéiens, Paris style; Second style (“architectural-illusionistic”); Third style (“ornamen- Barbet A (1998) La tecnica pittorica. In: Donati 1998, pp 103–110 tal”); Fourth style (“intricate”); Gardens; Landscapes; and Conclusions Clelia Sbrolli: Introduction; Preparation techniques; Characteristics of Barbet A (2000) La pittura romana. Dal pictor al restauratore, Imola tectorium and preparatory layers of mortar; Plaster anchoring systems; Barbet A (2008) La peinture murale en Gaule romaine, Paris Sketches, outline incisions and corda battuta (chalk-line); Painting tech- Barbet A (2009) La peinture murale romaine. Les styles décoratifs niques; Affresco, mezzo-fresco, a secco, surface treatment and finishing; pompéiens. Paris Pontate (“scaffoldings”)/giornate (“working days”); Megalography; and Barbet A (2016) Recomposition et restitution des peintures murales Panel pictures fragmentaires : méthodologie, principes scientifiques et éthiques. Revue archéologique 2016/2 62:361–381 Barbet A (2018) Un demi-siècle de recherches sur la peinture murale Declarations The authors have no conflict of interest to declare. antique. In Dubois Y, Niffeler U (eds) (2018) Pictores per Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were provincias, II, 11–23 created or analysed in this study. Barbet A, Allag C (1972) Techniques de préparation des parois dans la peinture murale romaine. Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome Antiquité 84-2:935–1070 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Barbet A, Allag C (2000) La pittura romana: dal pictor al restauratore. Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adap- Catalogo della Mostra, Trento, Palazzo Thun, giugno-settembre tation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as 2000-Bologna, Complesso di San Giovanni in Monte, ottobre you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, pro- 2000. Imola vide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were Bastet FL, De Vos M (1979) Proposta per una classificazione del terzo made. 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Journal

Archaeological and Anthropological SciencesSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 1, 2021

Keywords: Roman wall painting; Painting technique; Technology; Craftsmanship; Pompeian styles

References