BMCR 2012.06.21

Circulación de temas y sistemas decorativos en la pintura mural antigua

, Circulación de temas y sistemas decorativos en la pintura mural antigua: actas del IX Congreso Internacional de la Association Internationale pour la Peinture Murale Antique [AIPMA] (Zaragoza - Calatayud, 21-25 septiembre 2004). Calatayud: Gobierno de Aragón. Departamento de Política Territorial, Justicia e Interior, 2007. Pp. 559; 129 plates. (pb).

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

Circulación de temas y sistemas decorativos en la pintura mural antigua publishes 81 papers and posters presented in 2004 at the tri-annual international congress of the Association Internationale pour la Peinture Murale Antique (AIPMA) in Zaragoza and Calatayud, Spain. Carmen Guiral Pelegrín organized the five- day international congress and edited the publication, which was sponsored by the Center of the National University for Distance Learning (UNED) of Calatayud and the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the Faculty of Geography and History of UNED. The volume belongs to a long line of published AIPMA conference proceedings on ancient mural painting and, as with the earlier publications, it contains presentations from an international body of scholars.1

As a group, the papers collected here address the circulation of themes and decorative systems in ancient paintings from art historical perspectives, including both iconographic and technical studies. Most of the presentations concentrate on Republican and Imperial examples from peninsular Italy and Spain, but the overall temporal and geographic range is vast, integrating work on paintings that span from the second millennium BCE Egypt to the eighth century CE in Ummayad Jordan, including items from the modern-day countries of Greece, North Africa, Spain, Turkey, Israel, Hungary and the Netherlands.

The volume has two parts: Communications and Posters. In the first part, the presentations are organized thematically into six sections the first of which, “Conferencias Inaugurales,” introduces the congress with two papers that underscore overarching issues and methods in ancient painting studies. Irene Bragantini considers the vocabulary employed in scholarly discourse on the circulation of themes and decorative systems, discussing terms such as il modo, l’adozione, l’abbandono, riformulazione, convenzionalitá, sistemi decorativi, tema. She stresses the significance of both visual language and social context in the study of Roman paintings. In the second inaugural paper, Agnes Allroggen- Bedel addresses the question of single themes in Romano-Campanian painting and asks if the phenomenon of unique subjects can be explained by mere chance or interpreted as an indication of originality; her response emphasizes the role of the patron in the occurrence of unique subjects.

The papers in the subsequent sections—two through six— are organized topically and grouped broadly by geographic zones (at least for parts four and five). The second section integrates essays on the circulation and transmission of iconographic themes, including funerary paintings (Benassai, Tortorella), depictions of Roman foundation myths (Dardenay), mythological figures (Berg, Colpo), representational types (Gury, Varone), and prototypes (Tamm, Meyboom). The third section contains contributions on the circulation and transmission of ornamental repertories and compositional schemes in paintings, mosaics, and stucco decoration from Imperial Rome, Ostia, and Campania (Guimier-Sorbets, Eristov, Blanc, Mols).

The fourth and fifth sections respectively, trace the transmission of painting motifs and schemes in the western and eastern Roman provinces. The western provinces are represented by paintings from modern-day Germany and Spain, including examples from third-century CE Schwangau (Fuchs), Roman Trier (first to third century CE) (Santoro), and the first-century CE cities of Merida (Barrientos Vera and Guiral Pelegrín), Murcia, Cartagena, Águilas (Fernández Díaz), and Calatayud, in Zaragoza (Lope Martínez).

The eastern Roman provinces are represented by paintings from Israel and Jordan. These papers encompass examples from the Hellenistic and Herodian-period sites of Jericho, Herodium, and Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (Rozenberg) and Hellenistic and Roman-period tomb paintings from Maresha in the Judean Valley, Kibbutz Or ha-Ner in the northern Negev desert, and Kibbutz Lohamey ha-Getaoth in the Western Galilee (Michaeli). A final paper in this section studies the eight-century CE painted and stuccoed interiors from a bath in Qusayr ‘Amra in Jordan (Vibert-Guigue).

The concluding section features recent findings and new interpretations in the study of individual groups of ancient paintings, including scholarship on specific iconographies like pygmies in Romano-Campanian examples (Clarke) and decorative systems in Ostia (Falzone) as well as the presentation of new archival initiatives in Pompeian wall painting studies (Aoyagi and Pappalardo).

Essays on newly recovered surface decorations include those on stucco and painted walls in a shrine on the acropolis of Populonia in Etruria (Donati and Cavari), in domestic rooms in Roman Brigetio in modern-day Hungary (Borhy), in the late-Roman Villa de Almenara de Adaja (Valladolid) (García Merino, Sánchez Simón and Burón Álvarez) and in the casa romana de la calle Añón de Zaragoza (Mostalac Carrillo, Beltrán Lloris and Corral Díaz) in modern-day Spain. This section also contains papers that reevaluate long-known bodies of paintings, such as the second- and third-century examples from Ostia, Italy (Falzone), Córdoba, Spain (Cánovas Ubera) and from Hanghaus 2 in Ephesus, Turkey (Zimmermann), as well as those from Kerch in eastern Crimea, Ukraine, which range in date from the first through the fourth centuries (Zin’ko).2

Part two of the volume contains the posters and begins with two presentations on iconographic themes: Giotto et la peinture murale antique romaine (Beaudet) and Théâtre et peinture: Iphigenie en Tauride (Ciobanu). The rest of the poster presentations are organized by geographic region: Italy (Latium and Campania, Umbria and Venetia), Sardinia, the Eastern Roman Provinces, Achaia and Dacia, Pannonia, Germania, Gallia, Tarraconensis, Lusitania, and Baetica. A final section of posters centering on Archaeometry and Restoration concludes the volume.

A major strength of this publication (and of the AIPMA congresses in general) is the International scope of the papers. As with many publications of large conference proceedings the essays vary in quality and focus, but in this case the volume is consistently and thoroughly edited, illustrated throughout with black and white images, and supplemented with 45 color plates. In many respects, the volume is an excellent representative of the current field of ancient painting studies. The majority of the research papers presented here focuses on paintings from the late Republican and Imperial Roman periods and more than half of the 34 contributions center on Romano-Campanian decorative schemes. This concentration roughly reflects the current state of scholarship with Pompeian studies forming the core of Roman painting investigation. The volume also illustrates, however, that research on paintings in the Roman provinces is a dynamic and growing facet of the larger field of study and naturally, with Zaragoza and Calatayud serving as the host cities for the congress, it highlights scholarship on the remarkable paintings preserved in the Roman provinces of Spain.3

It is striking, however, that there are so few papers on earlier surface decoration. Certainly, the circulation of visual themes and decorative systems is widely applicable to paintings from other periods and geographic regions, such as the extensive bodies of evidence from the Bronze Age Aegean and Iron Age Italy and Asia Minor, for example. Most obvious, to my mind, though, is the absence of papers on paintings from Southern Italy and from the Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean (with the exception of Iorio’s essay on Delos and Pompeii). Artistic themes and decorative systems in Hellenistic visual traditions certainly fit well within the conference scope and have direct links with Romano-Campanian painting. Integration of research on paintings from other periods and geographic areas (perhaps also from outside the Roman Mediterranean world, including ancient cultures in Asia and the Americas, for instance) has the potential to inform on a number of levels, most particularly in terms of methodological and theoretical approaches, but also regarding technological and material exchange and regional practices.

Of course, the addition of research on paintings from a wider geographic and chronological base would only augment what is an already substantial collection of research. These observations should not be taken as criticism directed at this volume, which is a commendable compilation of significant depth and breadth, but as suggestions for future directions for AIPMA, in particular, and for the field of ancient painting, in general.

Specialists in the field of Roman painting studies will find this volume an invaluable resource. There is much here also for art historians, archaeologists, conservators, and material scientists interested in various iconographic and technical facets of ancient surface decoration (painting, stucco and mosaic). Its use in an undergraduate setting in North American Universities will be challenging, however, because the majority of the papers and posters are not in English. But at the graduate level the volume is a good starting point for research projects, as solid bibliographies follow each essay and poster presentation. Also, a number of the papers contain comments from the conference participants and these “debates” offer a lively perspective on various topics for those approaching the field of ancient painting studies for the first time.

In sum, this volume is a worthy addition to library collections in North American Institutions (and elsewhere), particularly those with graduate programs and/or concentrations in archaeology, conservation, and the history of ancient art.4

Table of Contents

“La circolazione dei temi e dei sistemi decorativi: alcune osservazioni”, Irene Bragantini
“Solitäre Themen: Zufall der Überlieferung oder Zeichen der Originalität?”, Agnes Allroggen-Bedel
“L’iconografia del “Magistrato” nella pittura funeraria italica”, Rita Benassai
“La diffusion des mythes fondateurs de Rome dans la peinture murale et la mosaïque antique”, Alexandra Dardenay
“Le geste de la disponibilité à L’Autre. Circulation et adaptation d’un schéma grec dans la peinture murale, le relief et la mosaïque”, Françoise Gury
“I rapporti tra Delo e Pompei nel II secolo a.C.: aspetti religiosi e circolazione dei temi figurativi”, Vincenza Iorio
“Ermafrodito e il gioco delle varianti iconografiche nella pittura pompeiana”, Ria Berg
“Circolazione di schemi nella formazione del repertorio mitologico di IV stile a Pompei: I’immagine di Endimione seduto”, Isabella Colpo
“Transmigrazione di tipi. Daphne si muta in Kyparissos in un dipinto inedito pompeiano”, Antonio Varone
“Painters and Prototypes. Banquet Scenes from the Casa dei Casti Amanti at Pompeii”, John Tamm
“Iphigenia in Ampurias”, Paul G.P. Meyboom
“Riflessioni sui temi della pittura funeraria romana”, Stefano Tortorella
“Voir la peinture et la mosaïque en relief: représentations illusionnistes de quelques moulures et motifs architecturaux”, Anne-Marie Guimier-Sorbets
“Espace et structure: les motifs architecturaux dans la peinture du Ier au IIème siècle ap. J.-C.”, Hélène Eristov
“La transcription des schémas architecturaux sur les parois stuquées du Ier au IIème siècle ap. J.-C.”, Nicole Blanc
“La fine del IV stile nel centro dell’Imperio”, Stephan T.A.M. Mols
“Frises aux masques en Bavière: la circulation d’un schème pictural”, Michel Fuchs
“Intorno a una parete verde al Museo di Trier: alcune riflessioni sulla monocromia nella pittura romana”, Sara Santoro
“La decoración en relieve de Mérida: un taller del s. I d.C.”, Teresa Barrientos Vera, Carmen Guiral Pelegrín
“Coexistencia de modas decorativas en la pintura mural del siglo I d.C. en el sudeste peninsular. La presencia de un posible taller”, Alicia Fernández Díaz
“La pintura mural romana en Bilbilis : el II estilo en las viviendas del barrio de las termas (Calatayud, Zaragoza)”, Julia Lope Martínez
“Domestic Wall Paintings of the Hellenistic and Herodian Periods in the Ancient Land of Israel”, Silvia Rozenberg
“Funerary Lights in Painted Tombs in Israel: from Paganism to Christianity”, Talila Michaeli
“L’adaptation de décors antiques à l’époque omeyyade au Proche-Orient”, Claude Vibert-Guigue
“A Compendium of Pygmy Imagery in the Casa del Medico at Pompeii: Content, Context, and Viewers”, John R. Clarke
“Japón y Pompeya por la diffusión de las iconografias pictóricas antiguas”, Masanori Aoyagi, Umberto Pappalardo
“Sistemi di I stile in Etruria: nuovi dati dallo scavo dell’acropoli di Populonia”, Fulvia Donati, Fernanda Cavari
“Considerazioni sui sistemi decorativi parietali delle Insule di Ostia (180-250 d.C.)”, Stella Falzone
“Las pinturas romanas procedentes de la avda. del Gran Capitán, 5 (Córdoba)”, Álvaro Cánovas Ubera
“Pinturas murales de la Villa de Almenara de Adaja (Valladolid)”, Carmen García Merino, Margarita Sánchez Simón, Milagros Burón Álvarez
“La decoración pictórica del triclinio de la casa romana de la calle Añón de Zaragoza (España)”, Antonio Mostalac Carrillo, Miguel Beltrán Lloris, María Rosa Corral Díaz
“Calçotada im Römischen Pannonian? Interpretation eines Wandgemäldes aus Brigetio (Fo: Komárom/Szőny-Vásártér, Ungarn)”, László Borhy
“Lo sviluppo di sistemi pittorici ad Efeso tra epoca traianea e gallienica”, Norbert Zimmermann
“The Bosporan Painted Crypts (I-IV A.D.): chronology and style”, Elena Zin’Ko
“Giotto et la peinture murale romaine”, Isabelle Beaudet
“Théâtre et peinture: Iphigenie en Tauride”, Radu Ciobanu
ITALIA (Lacio y Campania)
“Sistemi decorativi e temi figurativi in stucco nel I secolo d.C. Alcuni esempi dai Colombari Puteolani”, Giovanna Rossini
“Affreschi scomparsi: gli acquerelli dell’archivio della Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali del Comune di Roma”, Paola Chini
“Testimonianze pittoriche dal Conservatorio di S. Pasquale in Trastevere (Roma)”, Stefania Fogagnolo
“Lo scavo di un soffitto nell’Insula delle Ierodule ad Ostia”, Stella Falzone, Flora Panariti, Angelo Pellegrino, Marcello Tranchida
” Testimonianze di legami artistici tra Ostia e Roma: rilettura, attraverso il restauro, degli apparati decorativi della tomba 18 della necropoli della Via Laurentina ad Ostia”, Margherita Bedello Tata with an appendix by Marco Sangiorgio
“Pittura di Lanuvio con soggetto bacchico”, Luca Attenni
“La domus della Soglia Nilotica di Privernum : i sistemi decorativi. Studio preliminare”, Elsa Laurenzi, Francesca Taccalite
“La trasmissione del tema decorativo dei “piccoli animali su elementi vegetali”. Analisi e confronti nella Villa di Poppea, nella Villa di Arianna e nella Casa del Centenario”, Chiara Cesaretti, Cristina Ravara Montebelli
“L’iconografia di Alessandro Magno a Pompei”, Mario Grimaldi
“I cicli decorativi nella Casa del Menandro a Pompei”, Ivan Varriale
“Un atelier de peinture à Pompéi (Campanie, Italie)”, Marie Tuffreau-Libre
“La decorazione pittorica della Tomba 9E della necropoli di Porta Ercolano a Pompei”, Vincenza Iorio
“Le “Antichità di Ercolano esposte” : contributi per la restituzione dei contesti pittorici antichi”, Rosaria Ciardello
“Il Macellum di Pozzuoli: la decorazione parietale e pavimentale”, Silvana Valeria Iodice, Marialaura Raimondi
ITALIA (Umbria y Venecia)
“La “Casa di Properzio” ad Assisi. Schemi pittorici di quarto stile nell’Umbria Romana”, Francesca Boldrighini
“Un sistema decorativo da soffitto dallo scavo di Via S. Biagio a Vicenza”, Isabella Colpo
“Gli intonaci di Montegrotto Terme (Padova) – scavo di Via Neroniana: osservazioni preliminari”, Lisa Marano, Monica Salvadori
“Una nuova proposta di inquadramento cronologico per il soffitto affrescato dalla ‘Villa di Tigellio’ (Cagliari)”, Michela Mallocci
“Jalons d’un nomadisme décoratif, de l’Asie Centrale aux Cyclades (des tapis aux plafonds peints)”, Françoise Alabe, Isabelle Brilhault
“The decorative System of the painted Tomb at Kibbutz Lohamey Ha-Getaoth, Israel”, Talila Michaeli
“Décors peints de Beyrouth, les chantiers du cardo et du decumanus“, Hélène Eristov, Muntaha Saghieh Beydoun
“Un tombeau peint de la nécropole de Cenchrées-Kenchreai, près de Corinthe”, Alix Barbet, Joseph L. Rife, avec la collaboration de Florence Monier
“La salle aux peintures et hypocaustes d’ Apulum“, Radu Ciobanu
“First results of the restitution of a wall-painting from a peristyle in Brigetio at site Civil Town II”, Eszter Harzányi, Zsófia Kurovszky, Loránd Olivér Kovács
“Theoretical reconstruction of a room in Gorsium/Herculia, area sacra. Mid. 3rd century a.d.”, Eszter Harzányi, Zsófia Kurovszky
“Newly discovered large-scale figure paintings from the Netherlands: the roman villa at Kerkrade-Holzkuil”, Lara Laken
“Le couloir peint de la Villa de Vichten (Luxembourg)”, Sabine Groetembril
“Les peintures de la rue Saint-Patrice à Bayeux (Calvados)”, Béatrice Amadei-Kwifati, Sophie Bujard
“Peinture d’une piscine froide de Rouen. Station Metrobus, Palais de Justice”, Alix Barbet, Jean-François Lefevre
“Les peintures de la villa de Mane-Vechen (France)”, Julien Boisleve, Sabine Groetembril, Claude Vibert-Guigue
“Pinturas de la Casa de Oceanos en Lucus Augusti“(Lugo), Enrique González
“Pintura mural en el Castro de Chao Samartín (Grandas de Salime, Asturias)”, Olga Gago Muñiz
“Pinturas murales de la Casa de los Plintos de Uxama (Soria)”, Carmen García Merino, Margarita Sánchez Simón, Milagros Burón Alvarez
“Pinturas romanas procedentes del antiquo convento dominicano de San Pedro Mártir (Toledo, España)”, Margarita Cerezo Tamayo
“La pintura mural de la Casa de los Grifos Una nueva y excepcional domus de la ciudad romana de Complutum (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, España)”, Ana Lucía Sanchez Montes, Sebastián Rascón Marqués
“Un nuevo ejemplo de personificación de provincia romana en la decoración pictórica de la Domus de Terpsícore (Valencia). Un tema iconográfico propio de mediados del siglo II d.C.”, Alicia Fernández Díaz
“Las pinturas de la Domus de las Columnas Rojas de Sisapo (La Bienvenida, Ciudad Real): estudio preliminary”, Mar Zarzalejos Prieto, Carmen Guiral Pelegrín, Carmen Fernández Ochoa
“Excavación y restitución de las pinturas del viridarium de la Domus de las Columnas Rojas de Sisapo (La Bienvenida, Ciudad Real)”, Patricia Hevia Gómez, Rosa MaCorral Díaz, Noelia Sierra Sáiz
“Pinturas das ala verhelha da Domus da Rua da Alcárcova, em Ėvora”, Rui Nunes Pedroso
“La decoración pictórica de los edificios termales de la Baetica“, Andrés Garcimartín Morales
“Las Musas de Gades (Cádiz, España)”, Álvaro Cánovas Ubera, Silvia Carmona Berenguer, Román Rivera Jofré
“How was the so-called red-black wall-painting at Baláca/Pannonia made?”, Anita Kirchhof
“Painting materials in Roman Wall-Paintings in the Netherlands”, Luc Megens, Matthijs de Keuzer, Henk van Keulen, Ineke Joosten
“Les mortiers de support de peintures murales de Gaule Romaine: première synthèse”, Arnaud Courtelas
“La restauración de las pinturas de Ehnasya el Medina (Heracleópolis Magna, Egipto)”, María del Carmen Pérez Dei, María Antonia Moreno Cifuentes


1. See pages 14-15 in this volume for a list of the AIPMA publications or go to the AIPMA website: The latest contribution is edited by Irene Bragantini, Atti del X Congresso Internazionale dell’AIPMA (Association Internationale pour la Peinture Murale Antique), Napoli 17-21 Settembre 2007) vols. 1-II (= AION, Annali di Archeologia e Storia Antica, Quaderno 18/1-2, Napoli 2010). Pp. 946, 85 tav. a colori, many figs. ISBN 978-88-95044-81-1; ISSN 1127-7130. The next congress will be held in Athens in September 2013.

2. See N. Zimmermann, S. Ladstätter et al. 2010. Wandmalerei in Ephesos von hellenistischer bis in byzantinische Zeit. Wein: Phoibos.

3. This situation is also evidenced in recent monographs on provincial paintings. In addition to Zimmermann and Ladstätter (cited above) see also A. Barbet et al. 2005. Zeugma II. Peinture murales romaines. Beyoğlu-Ïstanbul (Turkey): Institute Française d’Études Anatolienne; A. Barbet. 2006. La peinture mural en Gaule Romain. Paris: Picard; Balmelle, C. et al. 2011. Décor et architecture en Gaule entre l’Antiquité et le haut Moyen Âge. Aquitania Supplément 20. Bordeaux. Studies of Roman paintings in modern-day Spain are proliferating. In addition to L. Abad Casal’s seminal 1982 La pintura romana en Espaňa. Alicante: Universidad de Alicante; Seville: Universidad de Sevilla, see C. Guiral Pelegrín, M. Martín-Bueno. 1996. Bilbilis I: Decoración pictórica y estuco ornamentale . Zaragoza; A. Fernández Díaz. 2008. La pintura mural romana de Carthago Nova. Evolución del programa pictórico a través de los estilos, talleres y otras técnicas decorativa. Monografías del Museo Arqueológico de Murcia 2. Murcia. See also AIPMA’s Apelles bibliographies for additional citations; the most recent 2010 edition can be downloaded from AIPMA’s website.

4. The number of successful conference colloquia and workshops on ancient painting in recent Archaeological Institute of America annual meetings as well as the expanding member list of the Ancient Painting Studies Interest Group, (which includes a number of graduate students working on various facets of ancient Mediterranean decorative media), certainly demonstrate that the study of ancient surface decoration is a vital field of research in academic programs in North American Institutions.