Romana pictura


‘The great exhibition of ancient Roman paintings will continue in the Palazzo Podestà and Palazzo Arengo until 13th September. This covers a period from the beginnings of Rome to the Byzantine age. For the first time, visitors can admire, all in one place, recent archaeological finds and monuments not normally on display to the public and kept in the cellars of the loaning institutes. The idea of the exhibition is to show how Roman painting developed through the centuries. This journey is split into numerous more or less well known episodes, reviewed in terms of cultural derivations and influences, stylistic and thematic developments and artistic and symbolic changes, including those of a historic and social nature. Divided into detailed sections and areas (painting techniques, “special” paintings, portraits, painted inscriptions), the exhibition follows a path which highlights, through splendid materials, often relating to entire interior environments, the main stages of a journey through the entire Roman age, influenced by the most diverse artistic cultures, especially those of the east. The development of painting styles constantly accompanied Roman society which always welcomed elements from the cultures with which it came into contact. Thus decorative painting underwent a profound change, traditionally identified – according to what the Roman writer and architect Vitruvius tells us – in a sequence of different “styles” which reflect the changing fashions of the age. The best and most complete example is offered by Pompei, with the tragic interruption of 79 A.D. when the city was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. Four different styles follow one another here which evolve from stucco imitation of the marble and masonry structures (style I) to the expansion of space and representation of landscapes and architectures, which in some cases frame the human figure (style II), to a predilection for figurative representation – chiefly mythological – placed like a painting at the centre of the wall (style III) to the more sumptuous and theatrical architectural scenes with light and sinuous figures, often winged (style IV). Architectural views, country, sea or town scenes alternated with human figures, are to be found outside Pompei, in the decorations of houses in Rome, Ostia and other parts of the empire. Along an itinerary marked by public and domestic, noble and popular paintings – from celebrative and religious friezes, from decorations of interiors to shop signs along the road, from the decorations of country and town villas to the more intimate areas of homes, from landscapes to garden and nymph scenes – the exhibition helps visitors discover an unusual artistic and communicative richness, fresh in colour, agile in design and accurate, sometimes concise in the nevertheless effective strokes of the brush, repetitive here and there in theme, but always renewed. The extraordinary expressiveness of Christian painting represents the final chapter of the exhibition. This describes a new event that historically took place. Thus encounters, facts and faces appear to us in all their intense realism, to give testimony to a new outlook on life.’


23 Agosto 1998 - 29 Agosto 1998


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions