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  • Prof: Good morning.

  • The title of today's lecture is "Exploring Special Subjects

  • on Pompeian Walls."

  • And that's exactly what I'm going to do today,

  • to explore a number of scenes: a frieze of figures,

  • a landscape scene, portraits on Pompeian walls,

  • and also still life painting.

  • And we're going to look at them both in the context of the

  • architectural style walls that we've been discussing thus far

  • this term, especially the Second,

  • Third, and Fourth Styles, but we'll also look at them as

  • interesting in their own right.

  • We ended last time with a discussion of Fourth Style Roman

  • wall painting, and I want to show you again

  • what I consider the quintessential Fourth Style

  • wall.

  • It's the Ixion Room in the House of Vettii,

  • in Pompeii, and you see it here once again in all its garish

  • glory.

  • It's an amazing painting.

  • We talked about the fact that it is a kind of compendium of

  • all the styles that went before.

  • We described, for example,

  • the socle, which attempts to imitate

  • marble incrustation in paint, which of course makes reference

  • to the First Style of Roman wall painting.

  • We talked about the fact that the Second Style elements could

  • be seen in the substantial columns that are located in the

  • second tier, or in the main tier of the

  • painted wall -- columns that support a lintel

  • above and a coffered ceiling.

  • We see those here; we see them over here as

  • well--those, again, elements of the Second Style.

  • We talked about the Third Style features in this particular

  • painting, the mythological landscape in

  • the center that has a frame, a black frame around it,

  • to make it abundantly clear that this is not a window to

  • something else but rather meant to look as if it is a flat panel

  • painting hanging on the wall-- Third Style element.

  • Over here, another Third Style element,

  • the floating mythological figure, in the center in this

  • case, of a white panel with a border

  • that is made up of floral or vegetal motifs--

  • again elements of the Third Style.

  • With regard to Fourth Style, the introduction of

  • architecture, once again, on either side of

  • the main panel in the main zone.

  • These are not representations of complete buildings but

  • rather, as we discussed,

  • fragments of buildings depicted in illogical space,

  • and then in the uppermost tier we see the architectural cages

  • that we also described as characteristic of the Fourth

  • Style.

  • So all of these elements, as I said,

  • a compendium of all of these painting styles,

  • all in one place, is where Roman painting ends up

  • right before the destruction of Mount Vesuvius.

  • We also have looked--in fact, I want to return at the

  • beginning of today's presentation to the Villa of the

  • Mysteries in Pompeii.

  • We've looked at it twice already.

  • We looked at it from the standpoint of its architectural

  • evolution.

  • We looked at the two phases, first and second phases,

  • of the Villa of the Mysteries, and you'll remember the plan.

  • This is the second phase plan, which I show to you again,

  • and you'll recall the design of the villa, where you enter at

  • the top.

  • You enter into the peristyle, then into the atrium,

  • then into the tablinum; this unusual sequence of rooms

  • that is more in keeping with villa design,

  • according to Vitruvius, than to house design.

  • And we looked at a room, a Second Style wall painted

  • room, called Cubiculum 16, and I can show you where

  • Cubiculum 16 is on this plan.

  • You see it right over here.

  • And you'll remember that this was an outstanding example of

  • mature Second Style Roman wall painting --

  • this idea of opening up the wall illusionistically.

  • Remnants of the First Style wall still here.

  • That wall is dropped down.

  • We do have substantial columns, with projecting entablatures,

  • a coffered ceiling above and, in this case,

  • a lintel, and then an arcuated lintel;

  • all of these elements typical of the Second Style,

  • and especially the opening up of the wall to see a vista that

  • lies beyond, in this case a tholos or

  • round shrine, surrounded by blue sky.

  • So quintessential Second Style, in Cubiculum 16.

  • The room that I want to turn to today, also in the Villa of the

  • Mysteries, is Room 5.

  • Room 5 is located over here.

  • You see it right to the right of the tablinum,

  • and close to the southern side, close to the great bay window

  • that was added in Phase Two to provide magnificent views out

  • over the sea.

  • Room 5, it's a plain rectangular room,

  • or so it looks in plan, fairly large in scale--not as

  • large as the atrium but fairly large.

  • And while the plan is on the screen,

  • I just want to point to the entranceway,

  • to the room, this very small entranceway

  • here-- it's actually very important in

  • terms of our decoding of these paintings that we find in

  • there-- this small entranceway.

  • And then what you see in plan here are actually windows,

  • rather than additional doorways.

  • And we're going to see that the designer of this particular

  • room, the painter,

  • took the corners, took the location of the door

  • and also the corners of the room,

  • and the location of the windows, into great

  • consideration when he painted the scenes on this wall.

  • This is a view of Room 5 as it looks today.

  • It's often also referred to as the room with the Dionysiac

  • Mystery Paintings, mystery paintings that we'll

  • see feature the god of wine, Dionysus.

  • You can see from looking at this general view that the

  • paintings are quite well-preserved.

  • We'll see that they cover all four walls of the room,

  • except for the space--except for where the windows are,

  • obviously.

  • And you can also see that this is like nothing we've looked at

  • thus far this semester, in that what we have here are a

  • series of very large, monumental figures that seem to

  • walk around the room in a kind of procession,

  • and you see those extremely well here.

  • With regard to the style of wall that it is,

  • I show you another view over here where you can see those

  • same large figures walking from the doorway along the side of

  • the left wall.

  • But you can also see the design of the wall as a whole,

  • and if you look at it carefully you will note that the figures

  • are, of course, placed against these

  • large red panels.

  • Between those red panels, what look -- they're clearly

  • not columns, but kind of like flat pilasters here;

  • that resting on a socle, down below;

  • and then above, a meander pattern frieze;

  • and above that another, a course that represents,

  • in paint, what looks like variegated marble --

  • variegated marble, the implication being again it

  • would have been very expensive to bring from somewhere else.

  • So as we look at this, we think, "Well it's kind

  • of like a First Style wall."

  • But you can see that it's not a relief wall, it's not built up

  • in stucco, it's flat, because it was done entirely in

  • paint.

  • And yet, as you look at these very large figures,

  • you see that they are standing on a ground line that projects

  • into the spectator's space, and that suggests to us that

  • what we are dealing with here-- if we have to categorize this

  • and put it into First, Second, Third,

  • or Fourth Style -- we're going to call it a Second Style Roman

  • wall painting, because it has,

  • again, residual from the First Style,

  • but it's done entirely in paint, but it has this

  • projecting element at the bottom,

  • this baseline on which the figures stand and on which the

  • figures process.

  • So a Second Style Roman wall painting with monumental

  • figures.

  • And those monumental figures tell a story,

  • and it's a very interesting, very intriguing,

  • very mysterious story indeed.

  • And it is from the mystery scenes here, by the way,

  • that the Villa of the Mysteries got its name.

  • This is a view over here, an excellent view of the small

  • doorway that you need to take to enter into the room.

  • And as you enter into the room and you make a sharp left--

  • well first, of course, you enter in the room and you

  • get a glimpse of the entire space --

  • but as you turn to your immediate left,

  • you begin with the beginning of the story.

  • And the artist again has orchestrated this in such a way

  • as to make it look like this woman,

  • who is standing here, has actually entered through

  • the doorway of the room, and is now beginning to process

  • from that doorway, along the side of the room.

  • If we look at the woman, we see that she is wearing

  • quite a heavy garment, over here.

  • But it's a very jaunty representation of this woman,

  • because you can see she has her right hand on her hip,

  • in an interesting way.

  • And then, most interesting of all, is the fact that she wears

  • a veil over her head, and it's a kind of diaphanous

  • veil, as I think you can see.

  • It's over her head, protects her hair,

  • and then it wraps around her--she wraps it around her

  • chest.

  • She's holding one corner of it, with her left hand,

  • and the rest cascades down her back.

  • The artist has paid a great deal of attention to that veil,

  • because he wants to identify her for us, and to tell us that

  • she is a bride.

  • Brides were often depicted with voluminous veils,

  • like that, as you see her here.

  • And she is a bride--as we're going to find out as we

  • interpret these scenes-- she is a bride,

  • probably a young Pompeian woman,

  • who is about to enter- who is about to participate in these

  • religious rites that are going to allow her--

  • it's kind of like a fraternity or sorority initiation that

  • she's about to undergo: let's say a sorority initiation

  • that she's about to undergo, because she's about to go

  • through something that's going to enable her ultimately to

  • enter into a mystical marriage with the god of wine,

  • Dionysus.

  • She enters here.

  • Then she comes upon two other figures.

  • There's a seated woman, as you can see,

  • who holds in her left hand, a scroll.

  • She has her right hand on the shoulder of a little boy.

  • Note that the little boy is completely naked and completely

  • oblivious to the fact that he is naked.

  • He holds in his hand a scroll, which he has--

  • another scroll--which he has unfurled,

  • and it looks as if he is--well there's no question,

  • he's very intent on looking at the text on that scroll--

  • and it looks as if he is reading from the text of that

  • scroll.

  • And we interpret that scroll, or we interpret his

  • participation in this scene, as probably the fact that he is

  • reading the liturgy, the liturgy that has to do with

  • this cult of Dionysus and with the mystical marriage of women

  • with the god Dionysus.

  • It's a wonderful depiction of that boy.

  • And I also show you here the rest of that particular side of

  • the room.

  • We're going to look at all the figures in order,

  • but I just wanted you to get a sense of the rest of the wall as

  • it unfurls -- this left wall as you first

  • come into the room.

  • And I wanted to point out, using this image,

  • that again about how sophisticated this particular

  • artist was, because he takes into

  • consideration, as I mentioned before,

  • the corners of the room, and they become part of the

  • narrative.

  • As you can see here, there's an empty space,

  • but the story line, as we'll see,

  • continues across the corner, and the figures over here

  • interact with the figures on the other side of the bend in the

  • wall, in again a very,

  • very sophisticated and interesting way,

  • and we'll follow that through.

  • Before we do though, I just want to show you a head

  • detail of the seated woman, to give you a sense of the

  • extraordinary talent of this artist,

  • whose name, unfortunately, has not come down to us.

  • We see this head here, and you can see the way in

  • which the artist has captured the moment: what this woman is