Friday 24 September 2010

MSU art professor's theory about ancient decorating choices casts new light on Roman paintings

From MSU News Service (By Carol Schmidt):

A four-year study of the wall paintings found in an elegant villa buried by Vesuvius in 79 A.D. indicate that ancient Romans -- just like modern decorators -- sometimes chose to renovate and revive older styles rather than redo in the latest techniques.

The research by Regina Gee, a professor of art history in Montana State University's College of Arts and Architecture, challenges the long-held assumption that Roman painting styles progressed in a linear fashion.

Gee presented her findings today at the 11th International Colloquium of the International Association for Ancient Wall Paintings in Ephesus-Selcuk, Turkey. The title of her paper is "Fourth-Style Responses to 'Period Rooms' of the Second and third Styles at Villa A ('of Poppaea') at Oplontis."

Gee's findings are based on her four years of research of the wall paintings in the elegant Villa Oplontis (, located five kilometers west of Pompeii in the current Italian city of Torre Annunziata. The villa was 140 years old and had been renovated and enlarged several times before it was buried in the eruption of Vesuvius. Experts consider the villa to have the best and most extensive wall paintings preserved of any known Roman villa. ...

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