Roman Hermaphrodite Fresco

Roman Hermaphrodite Fresco

The remains of a magnificent Roman villa, or domus, buried for almost 2,000 years at the foot of Rome's Aventine Hill, will open to visitors for the first time from 7 May.

The visits - on the first and third Friday of the month - are enhanced by video projections, lights, sounds and historical narration by the celebrated duo of scientific presenters Piero Angela and Paco Lanciano, bringing the ancient villa to life once more.

The spectacular discovery was made in 2014 during works to earthquake-proof the foundations of the 1950s-era building in Piazza Albania, not far from the Circus Maximus.

Scatola Archeologica all'Aventino

Described as "unique," the 'Scatola Archeologica' project encompasses archaeology, architecture and technology, creating Rome's first museum site within a residential complex.

Archaeologists found a series of large rooms decorated with sumptuous mosaics and traces of frescoes as well as objects from everyday Roman life such as fragments of bowls and amphorae, a hammer, kitchen ladles, sewing needles and oil lamps, as well as the remains of a stone tower dating from the sixth century BC.

After several years of excavations below ground, and construction work above to convert the development into 180 luxury apartments, the residential complex now boasts its own underground museum.

The Archaeological Box on the Aventine Hill

The &euro3 million dig, overseen by the special superintendency of Rome, was funded by the property's owners, BNP Paribas Real Estate, in what has been hailed as a virtuous example of public and private collaboration.

Daniela Porro, the capital&rsquos chief archaeologist, described the new museum as an "archaeological box" of treasure and, based on the richness of decoration, it is believed that the domus belonged to a "person of power."

How to visit the 'Archaeological Box on the Aventine Hill'

Guided tours of the underground museum at the Domus Aventino will last about one hour and will be conducted - in Italian - on the first and third Friday every month.

Tours must be reserved exclusively online, via the Scatola Archeologica website, with the tours carried out in line with Italy's covid-19 protocols.

The visits will cater to groups of six people at a time. If booking for a group of six people it will be possible to organise a tour in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese or Japanese.

Tickets cost &euro11 for adults, &euro8 for visitors aged 12 to 17, and for EU citizens aged 18 to 25. Access is free for children under 12 and for disabled visitors with a companion. For full details see website.


An underlying coat of plaster applied directly to the wall, consisting of one part slaked lime to two parts of sand some fresco techniques use several layers of arriccio.

Paint with dry pigments on wet lime plaster. As the plaster hardens, a layer of crystal forms over the pigment, locking it into the surface.

Italian for "fresh" painting with dry pigments into a fresh, still wet intonaco layer of plaster. Also a term used for wall painting on dry surfaces, but more correctly called secco.

One day&rsquos work on a fresco, usually 3&ndash5 square meters in size.

The last coat of plaster applied the day of painting, the intonaco (0.5&ndash1.0 cm thick) contains less sand than the underlying arriccio layer(s). In large fresco paintings, the artist applies the intonaco plaster to complete in a short time.

Corrections added to the painting after the day&rsquos work.

Italian for "when dry" painting with dry pigments in organic binders such as casein, egg, oils, or waxes.

A stencil of the major shapes of the painting transferred to the wall before actual painting begins, sometimes called the cartoon. On the dried arriccio, the artist sketches the sinopia, usually first with charcoal and then with a lime-compatible pigment mixed in water. The sinopia is then traced onto paper to serve as a guide for continued work. The paper sinopia is then placed over the fresh intonaco and the image transferred to it in one of two ways: (1) by gently incising the lines of the drawing through the paper into the plaster or (2) by dusting dry, dark pigments through perforations in the paper along the lines of the drawing ("pouncing").

Secret Rooms, Passageways, Erotic Frescoes of the Vatican

"I saw Venus naked, doing her hair at the lake," says one scholar.

'GMA' Gives a Rare Behind the Scenes Look at the Vatican

Dec. 18, 2013— -- Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. It is an eighth the size of New York's Central Park and is governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head, writes Christopher Klein in "10 Things You May Not Know About the Vatican."

And since it holds secrets, the day of a "consistory" -- when the pope elevates new cardinals at a formal ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica -- is the best time to visit.

"The Vatican's Apostolic Palace, usually highly guarded from the public, hosts' 'visite di calore' [visits of warmth] for meets and greets with the new cardinals, said Father John Wauck, an American professor in Rome. "Nearly everything, the great halls and stairways, are open, and you can wander around and stroll through places usually reserved for heads of state," as long as the guards don't catch you.

Wauck said his first choice for a "secret" visit would be the residence of Benedict XVI in the Vatican gardens. "This is a kind of secret, in part because it is something new in the Vatican, and tourists are not allowed there," he said.

Wauck's next choice is not a room but an ancient hidden passageway. "There is a hollow wall, constructed in 1277, that runs from the papal apartments to the Castel Sant Angelo, the tomb of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, which looks like an impregnable castle with a moat around it," he said. In the Middle Ages the Tomb of Hadrian was made into a fortress, "and popes have used this passageway to seek refuge there," said Wauck. The passageway served as an escape route for popes, according to Klein, "most notably in 1527, when it likely saved the life of Pope Clement VII during the sack of Rome."

Wauck's favorite hidden area is the Roman cemetery located beneath the Basilica of St. Peter. The Vatican Necropolis, known as the "scavi," requires special reservations, but it is worth making the extra effort, said Wauck, who praised the tombs for their beautifully preserved frescoes, sarcophagi and ancient Christian inscriptions. Reservations for the Scavi tour can be made through the Vatican Excavations Office.

Perhaps the most intriguing secret of the Vatican is, surprisingly, a bathroom -- decorated in erotic frescoes -- in the papal apartments. According to Tony Perrottet, author of "A Journey Through the Historic Underbelly of Europe," this bathroom was painted in 1516 by the Renaissance master Raphael and is called the Stufetta della Bibbiena, the "small heated room of Cardinal Bibbiena," the official who commissioned the work.

"It had been painted over and then restored. Its existence was denied. Art historians had heard of it, but photos of it from the 1930s were murky and dark," said Perrottet. Gaining entry to this bathroom was Perrottet's greatest challenge while researching his book, he said.

Denied at first, Perrottet pleaded his case, and a bishop rejuggled the pope's schedule so that Perrottet could be quickly snuck in for a brief visit.

"It was very exciting," he said. "One of the clerics took me in for five minutes. The room was filled with erotic frescoes. I saw Venus naked doing her hair by the lake, her legs akimbo, and I had to get to the monsignor to step aside to see the most famous one -- Pan pleasuring himself." Perrottet was not allowed to take photographs but made a few drawings.

Stufetta may have been the highlight for Perrottet, but another treat was visiting the Tower of the Winds, the Vatican's first astronomy tower. The 200-foot-high structure was built in 1578 so that the pope's astronomers could track the movements of the sun and stars and record the shifting directions of the wind.

But because access is only through the Vatican Secret Archives, very few outsiders get to set foot in there.

At the top, said Perrottet, was a chamber "bursting with color" with "succulent frescoes spread across the 30-foot-high walls that depicted the shipwreck of St. Paul in Malta (an act of divine meteorological manipulation), and the ceiling was painted with glittering stars. Etched into the floor were circles with the names of the winds: Tramontane, Sirocco, Ostro.

Perrottet's eye was drawn to a coin-size hole in the wall that revealed a tiny circle of actual sky. Every March 21, a ray of sunlight points to noon on an eight-pointed rosette in the floor to mark the spring equinox. The tower's balcony offers breathtaking views across Rome -- only St. Peter's Basilica stands higher than the tower.

Roman Hermaphrodite Fresco - History


This project focused on the history and preservation of Roman frescoes in domūs and villas in Pompeii and Herculaneum and is the result of an independent study with Dr. Diane Al Shihabi, in the Department of Interior Design, at Iowa State University. This research asked (1) What is the nature of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and what was the magnitude of the cataclysmic event that caused two communities to be covered with layers of ash and magma, (2) What are the circumstances that facilitated the preservation of frescoes prior to excavation, and (3) How did the Roman classical design influences spread to other parts of Italy? The research process included direct analysis and documentation of residential buildings in Pompeii and Herculaneum, using photography and videography, and the examination of historical literature and other documents at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy and the Palazzo Massimo Museum in Rome, Italy. Evidence was synthesized in a written research paper and visually interpreted through a documentary film. Findings broaden knowledge of Roman frescoes in Pompeii and Herculaneum and add a Generation Z’s perspective to the scholarship of Roman classical ruins.

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The Frescoes of Pompeii & Herculaneum: A View of History, Excavation, & Preservation from Generation Z

This project focused on the history and preservation of Roman frescoes in domūs and villas in Pompeii and Herculaneum and is the result of an independent study with Dr. Diane Al Shihabi, in the Department of Interior Design, at Iowa State University. This research asked (1) What is the nature of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and what was the magnitude of the cataclysmic event that caused two communities to be covered with layers of ash and magma, (2) What are the circumstances that facilitated the preservation of frescoes prior to excavation, and (3) How did the Roman classical design influences spread to other parts of Italy? The research process included direct analysis and documentation of residential buildings in Pompeii and Herculaneum, using photography and videography, and the examination of historical literature and other documents at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy and the Palazzo Massimo Museum in Rome, Italy. Evidence was synthesized in a written research paper and visually interpreted through a documentary film. Findings broaden knowledge of Roman frescoes in Pompeii and Herculaneum and add a Generation Z’s perspective to the scholarship of Roman classical ruins.

Portrait of Terentius Neo: Roman Portraits Celebrating Literacy

Portrait of Terentius Neo, the woman holding wax tablets and a stylus, the man holding a papyrus roll.

A fresco of a Pompeian couple with stylus, wax tablets, and papyrus roll from about 75 CE, found in the House of Terentius Neo, shows a man holding a papyrus scroll and a woman holding a stylus to her lips for writing on the wax tablets that she holds in her other hand. This fresco, which is sometimes called Portrait of Terentius Neo, is one of several surviving Roman portraits depicting the symbols of literacy.

"This couple, who did not come from the very highest ranks of the Pompeian aristocracy, probably chose to be depicted in this way as a mark of their status&mdashthey belonged to the ranks of those who were literate, and they wished to display the fact. In this sense, the portrait is evidence that literacy was far from universal in Roman Pompeii. But it is none the less an impressive fact, typical of the Roman world and difficult to parallel before modern times, that a provincial couple should have chosen to be painted in a way that very specifically celebrated a close relationship with the written word, on the part of both the man and his wife" (Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization [2005] 162-63, plate 7.10).

7 Pieces of Art That Were Lost to History

A new book highlights famous art that has been looted, stolen, destroyed, or has otherwise disappeared over the centuries.

There’s no guarantee that art will stand the test of time—even if it’s a masterpiece. Over the centuries, even paintings by greats like Leonardo da Vinci have been lost to history, their existence evidenced only by references to them in written records. A new book called The Museum of Lost Art explores some of the priceless art that has disappeared since ancient times. “Many of humanity’s greatest artworks have been lost to theft, vandalism, iconoclasm, misfortune, and willful or inadvertent destruction,” author Noah Charney, an art historian who specializes in art crime, writes. “Our understanding of art is skewed, inevitably, towards works that can be seen, that have outlived the numberless dangers that can befall a work of art that is often as brittle as a piece of paper.”

Below are just a few examples of art that has been lost, and some that has been found again.



This engraving shows the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, in what was likely its original location near the entrance to the Mandraki harbor on the Greek island of Rhodes. The massive bronze statue by Chares of Lindos was completed in 280 BCE. Depicting the god Helios, it was around a third of the height of the Statue of Liberty and stood atop a 49-foot-high marble plinth. Just 54 years after it was erected, the Colossus was destroyed in an earthquake that caused it to break apart at the knees and crash backward. While the broken statue lay where it had fallen for centuries, becoming a tourist destination in its own right, the bronze was melted down by an invading army in 653 CE, leaving us with only drawings of what it might have looked like.


In some instances, the lost paintings created by master artists hundreds of years ago may have been even more famous during their time than the works that survived. “It is easy to forget that works we associate with great artists were not necessarily their greatest, most influential creations often they are just the ones that happen to have survived, winning the historical roll of the dice," Charney writes.

Such is the case with Rogier van der Weyden, one of the most influential painters in 15th century Flanders. His most famous paintings, four large works on the theme of justice, were lost to a massive 17th century fire that destroyed much of Brussels during the Nine Years' War. The only record we have left of the paintings is from written descriptions from those who came to visit the works, and this tapestry the artist made a decade after the original works is the closest visual evidence we have of what they looked like. "Rogier is now best known for his Deposition, but during his lifetime, his Justice Cycle was his monument," Charney writes. "One wonders what different, maybe greater, influence the Justice Cycle might have had, had fortune allowed it to act as a point of pilgrimage for artists for centuries more."



This painting wasn't lost in a fire—it depicts other art in the process of being lost. In 1654, a gunpowder magazine stored in a former convent exploded in the Dutch town of Delft, destroying much of the town and killing 100 people. One of those people was Carel Fabritius, a painter who was Rembrandt's star pupil. The fire destroyed almost all of his paintings.

Fire has been a devastating force in art history. In 1734, a fire in the Alcázar, Seville's royal palace, destroyed 500 pieces of art, including several early Diego Velázquez paintings as well as works by Leonardo, Anthony van Dyck, El Greco, and Raphael, among many others. In 1698, a fire at Whitehall in London destroyed artwork like Michelangelo's 15th century Sleeping Eros and Gianlorenzo Bernini's 17th century Portrait Bust of King Charles I. And that isn't even counting art destroyed in the course of war, like the 154 works that burned when the Gemäldegalerie museum was hit during the firebombing of Dresden in 1945.


A huge amount of art disappears during wartime, whether because of looting or because the works become collateral damage in conflict. Russia's Amber Room was subject to both. In the 18th century, Empress Elizabeth of Russia installed numerous wall panels made from thinly sliced amber veneer, a gift from the king of Prussia to the Russian tsar 27 years earlier, in a room in her winter palace. Over the years, she and her descendants expanded and redecorated the bejeweled room, ultimately installing 13,000 pounds of amber on the walls. It became known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. But it wouldn't survive the 20th century.

In the modern era, the delicate panels did not fare well, since central heating made them incredibly brittle. But World War II spelled doom—despite efforts to hide the room from invading forces, the Nazis packed the panels into 27 crates and shipped them to Prussia in 1941, putting them on partial display at Königsberg Castle. Unfortunately, the castle was ruined by a combination of Allied bombs in 1944 and the three-month siege by the Red Army in 1945. While it's possible that some parts of the room might have survived, only two objects have turned up in the last half century—a chest and a marble mosaic, both rediscovered in the late '90s.

The Amber Room wasn't the only major work of art to fall victim to the Third Reich. The Nazis stole hundreds of thousands of paintings from Jewish art dealers and collectors during World War II, a large number of which were never returned to their rightful owners. As of 2009, an estimated 100,000 of the 650,000 stolen works had not yet been given back to their original owners or their descendants, despite laws like the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016 that aim to facilitate the return of Nazi-looted art. In some cases, these descendants have had to sue museums in order to get their art back.

Even now, conflict provides easy cover for would-be art thieves. Between 2003 and 2005, at the outset of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, around a half million antiquities were stolen from Iraqi museums and archaeological sites. Unfortunately, art is inextricably linked to conflict—the Islamic State, for instance, makes millions of dollars a year trafficking looted ancient artifacts, including statues and jewelry, that may never be seen again.


While many artworks have been lost to disasters, shipwrecks have actually saved some ancient art from destruction. In the ancient world, metal art was often melted down and recycled for other projects, like making cannonballs. Statues like this Apoxyomenos were saved from this fate by virtue of being underwater for centuries. The Croation statue, made in the first or second century CE, was discovered in 1996, well-preserved at the bottom of the northern Adriatic Sea.


Sometimes, artwork is destroyed by the artist themselves. Pablo Picasso made several works on camera during the filming of Le mystère Picasso, but as part of the movie, those paintings were later destroyed. The whole point was that they would only be viewed through the lens of the film.

Other artists throughout history have destroyed their own work because they were dissatisfied with how it turned out. Michelangelo ordered most of his drawings burned, not wanting to share the notes he used to make his sculptures and paintings, and as a result, only a fraction survive. More modern artists have burned their work, too. An unhappy Claude Monet destroyed 15 canvases before a 1908 exhibition in Paris, and Gerhard Richter once cut up and burned 60 of his earliest paintings, keeping only photographs of them.

"Sometimes," Richter told Der Spiegel in 2012, "when I see one of the photos, I think to myself: That's too bad you could have let this one or that one survive."

Roman Empire: Bloody, Defeated Gladiator Drips Gore in Gruesome Fresco Uncovered at Pompeii

Gladiators may have frequented the ancient tavern where the fresco was found.

Two gladiators at the end of a fight — one victorious and the other yielding in defeat — appear on the latest fresco found in Pompeii. Two gladiators at the end of a fight — one victorious and the other yielding in defeat — appear on the latest fresco found in Pompeii.

Rich, vibrant hues in a fresco recently uncovered at Pompeii illustrate the brutal finale of a violent battle between two gladiators.

The unknown artist was generous with the color red the upright victor is bleeding from several gashes, and the losing fighter’s body is striped with gore as bloody drops spray from multiple wounds on his arm and upper body.

Officials with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii announced the find Oct. 11 on the park’s website. The fresco was found on a wall in the ruins of an ancient tavern in Regio V, a zone in the northeastern part of Pompeii, park representatives reported.

Related: Pompeii Photos: Archaeologists Find Skeletal Remains of Victims of the Vesuvius Eruption

Regio V also holds a block of gladiators’ barracks, and it’s “very probable” that gladiators were frequent visitors to the tavern where the bloody fresco hung, Massimo Osanna, the park’s director general, said in a statement.

In the fresco, the gladiator on the left stands victorious, holding his shield high. By comparison, the loser is weak and staggering, holding up his left hand in a gesture imploring for mercy, according to the statement.

“It is interesting to see the extremely realistic representation of the wounds,” Osanna said.

Pompeii and its people perished when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, swiftly burying everything and everyone within the city under a thick layer of ash. Because the eruption blanketed Pompeii so quickly, it preserved an unprecedented snapshot of life in a Roman city.

Parts of the city are accessible to visitors, while ongoing excavation in other areas is still uncovering tantalizing clues about how people lived thousands of years ago. Discoveries earlier this year included amulets of deities, skulls and phalluses an inscription describing a banquet for more than 6,000 people and a snack bar with a sexy sea nymph decoration to lure customers.

But one of Pompeii’s mysteries that may remain eternally unsolved is the fate of the yielding, bloodstained gladiator in the fresco. For the losers in gladiatorial combat, “you could die or have grace,” Osanna said. “We do not know what the final outcome of this fight was.”

Art History Presentation Archive

What is a fresco?
The word fresco originates from the Greek fresko, meaning “fresh.” The term fresco is used to describe any of several related types of painting directly onto the plaster of a wall.

The two basic types of fresco:
Buon fresco: This type of fresco, done in wet plaster, is considered the more authentic of the two types, and is also sometimes referred to as “true fresco.”
A secco: This type is done on dry plaster, meaning it also requires a binding medium (unlike buon fresco), such as egg. A secco is also used to touch up and repair buon frescoes.

A bit of history:
The earliest known examples created with the Buon fresco method date back to around 1500 BC, on the Greek island of Crete:

The most famous of these is “The Toreador,” which depicts a sacred ceremony in which people would jump over the backs of large bulls. Some art historians believe that fresco artists from Crete may have been bartered as part of trade exchanges, an action which shows the value of their skill at the time.

Other examples:
- The ceiling of our seminar room in the UW Rome Center,
-“The Loves of the Gods” by Annibale Carracci in the Palazza Farnese, which depicts the Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, the two lovers parading in a triumphal procession:

One of the most prominent examples of this type of art is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, created in 1512. This piece, commissioned by Pope Julius II, depicts a myriad of biblical scenes. Because of the high skill level that was required for such a creation led Michelangelo to declare oil painting “effeminate,” a slap in the face to his contemporaries. Unlike oil painting, which could be done over long periods of time, buon frescoes had strict time constraints, forcing an artist to work quickly before the plaster dried and became permanent. If a mistake occurred, the plaster had to be chipped off (requiring a sharp tool) and that section redone completely. The unforgiving nature of damp plaster clearly displayed an artist’s skill, and for this reason, fresco painting was called “the mother of all arts” during the time of the Renaissance.

Ancient Roman painting: the four styles
Ancient Roman mural painting is distinguished by four periods, originally described by German archaeologist August Mau when he was excavating wall paintings at Pompeii. These four styles are used to differentiate between eras of building and decoration and shifts in Roman art.

First style (2nd c. BC – 80 BC)

Also called the structural, incrustation or masonry style, the first style is characterized by simulation of marble and use of vivid colors, both a sign of wealth. The style was also a replica of those found in the Ptolemaic palaces of the near east, where the walls were inset with real stones and marble. The first style also displays the spread of Hellenistic culture at the time, a result of Romans conquering and interacting with Greek and Hellenistic states. Many were also reproductions of Greek paintings.

Second style (beginning of 1st c. BC-20 BC)

During the time of the second style of Roman painting, walls were decorated with architectural features and trompe-l’oeil technique. This technique, a French word meaning to “trick the eye,” used extremely realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the picture itself is three-dimensional, rather than a 2-D painting. Artists would use features such as Ionic columns and stage platforms to push the plane of the picture back farther, creating a 3-D illusion. This style counteracted the claustrophobic nature of windowless Roman houses. The predominant colors in the second style were white, red, yellow, green and magenta.

Third style (20-10 BC, 40-50 AD)

The third style was a reaction to the austerity of the period that preceded it. It was much more ornamental, figurative and colorful, and was mainly characterized by the departure from illusionistic style (though this came back into use later in the fourth style). Strict rules of symmetry were used, however, distributing elements evenly around the central focus. Pieces would be divided into 3 horizontal and 3-5 vertical sections. The 3 horizontal sections were referred to as the socle, median area and upper area. The socle would be decorated with flowers and geometrical patterns, while the median area was a subdivision of large rectangular panels with simple architectural or vegetable elements. The final upper area would consist of a continuous pattern, decorated with fantastic architectures or draperies with no internal division.

Fourth style (second half of 1st c. AD, primarily 60-63 AD)

The fourth style was basically a richer, more complex phase of the third style. It also used an abundance of ornament, and was particularly popular after the destructive Pompeii earthquake in 63 AD, when reconstruction and retouching was necessary. Common themes of the fourth style were representations of open doors, windows and balconies, combined with elements of style two, such as depth and perspective. In addition, a lively emphasis on color was used.

Peter Paul Rubens was a flemish artist in the Baroque era who became one of the most influential painters in Christian history. His version of Cimon and Pero painting became a benchmark for many of his followers.

And his followers added another element to the painting in the 17th century — A child near Pero’s feet. This was done to prevent any incestuous interpretation of the deed although the existence of the child was implicit as Pero was shown lactating in the painting.

Watch the video: Α3 Η ρωμαϊκή αυτοκρατορία μία υπερδύναμη μόνο μουσική (December 2021).