8 Exploring Special Subjects on Pompeian Walls

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 8 of 24
Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner discusses special subjects in Roman wall painting that do not fall within the four architectural styles but were nonetheless inserted into their wall schemes: mythological painting, landscape, genre, still life, history painting, and painted portraiture. The lecture begins with an in-depth examination of the unique Dionysiac Mysteries painting in Pompeii in which young brides prepare for and enter into a mystical marriage with the god Dionysus and simultaneous initiation into his cult. Professor Kleiner then presents a painted frieze from Rome that depicts the wanderings of Odysseus against a continuous landscape framed by Second Style columns. She subsequently analyzes Roman still life, remarkable in its similarity to modern still life painting; a scene of daily life in Pompeii; and a painting depicting a specific historical event--a riot in the Pompeii Amphitheater that caused the arena to be shut down for ten years. The lecture ends with a discussion of painted portraiture on Pompeian walls, including likenesses of two different women holding a similar stylus and wax tablet.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

 

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