Fresco panel

Roman
Imperial Period
about A.D. 14–62


Findspot: Italy, Campania, near Pompeii, Villa of the Contrada Bottaro

Dimensions

Height x width: 196.5 x 165 cm (77 3/8 x 64 15/16 in.)

Accession Number

33.503

Medium or Technique

Fresco

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Paintings

This panel shows a fresco with fantastic architectural decoration and ground ornaments in yellow and creamy white set upon red ground. A two tiered Ionic structure, with twisted reeds supporting a projection at right, can also be seen. The window at the center of the upper field frames what appears to be a flying eagle. The fragile, uppermost architrave is crowned by three lyres, which turn into floral scrolls, and by two birds, perhaps falcons. The lower central field is framed by an ornamental band attached to an entablature/pediment by palmettes. At the center of the field are unclear figures, perhaps a ram beside a round basket with raised lid and snakes (a Bacchic “cysta mystica”) and a thyrsus.

Provenance

1901/1902, excavated by Gennaro Matrone (d. 1927) in the peristyle of the Contrada Bottaro Villa, about a half-mile south of Pompeii; ownership granted by the Italian State to Gennaro Matrone. Between October 1925 and March 1926, sold by Prof. U. Marcellini (dealer), Naples, to Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P2577); May 25, 1927, sold by Brummer to William Randolph Hearst (b. 1863 – d. 1951), New York; December 30, 1929, returned by Hearst to Brummer Gallery; 1933, sold by Brummer Gallery to the MFA for $15,115 [see note]. (Accession Date: June 1, 1933)

NOTE: Eleven frescoes (MFA accession nos. 33.496 – 33.506) were purchased by the MFA for this amount. They were part of a lot of 53 frescoes that had been acquired by Brummer Gallery, sold en bloc to Hearst, and were returned before being sold to the MFA.

Credit Line

Ellen Frances Mason Fund