Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Stolen Boscoreale fresco, for the third time

More details about the Boscoreale fresco stolen at an unknown time (still can’t believe that …) have emerged (see my previous posts) . Matteo Della Corte described the fresco in the Notizie degli Scavi in 1921. It was discovered in room 22 of the Villa of Asellius, which was located only a short distance from the Pisanella Villa. Both villas were discovered on land owned by Giuseppe De Martino and were excavated by Vincenzo De Prisco (the man who sold the Pisanella silver to the Louvre).

The Villa of Asellius was so-named after the discovery of a bronze seal bearing the name ‘Asellius’; it is claimed that Asellius was either the owner or steward of the villa. Apparently the villa was square in plan. It has been described as one of the most interesting working villas found in the territory of Boscoreale because – unlike other villas in this area – it lacked areas both for storing foodstuffs and for processing them. All the rooms around the large peristyle were decorated with wall-paintings and there was a bath complex. The villa was excavated over a two-year period, stripped of its finds and paintings, and reburied. Finds were scarce (a few coins, some pottery and a few silver and bronze vessels) and it is thought that the villa had already been explored by salvagers in ancient times. Another fresco from this villa was also stolen at an unknown time, but was recovered several years ago. (Source). There's an article about the villa and its paintings by Greta Stefani ('Boscoreale: la Villa di Asellius e le sue pitture') in Rivista di Studi Pompeiani IX (1998), 41ff.

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