A Black Fresco Fragment

Adam Tabeling
Adam Tabeling is a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdepartmental Classical Art and Archaeology program. Having finished his honors thesis entitled, “An Iconographical Study of Helen and Paris Alexandros in Etruscan Art” at the University of Colorado in 2011, Adam has continued his interest and research in iconography of the Greco-Roman world, mainly of relief sculpture. He recently gave a paper at the University of Freiburg on the Cancelleria Reliefs and is currently writing a monograph on the friezes of the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi. Aside from relief sculpture, Adam focuses on the topography of Rome, civic architecture and the relationships between politics and art. He attended the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in the summer of 2013.


  • Accession Number: JHUAM 991
  • Measurements: Length: 18cm, Width:16cm
  • Material: Pigment, plaster
  • Culture/Date: Roman, 1st c. CE
  • Provenance: Unknown


The midnight-black background of this fresco fragment emphasizes, the silver candelabrum in the foreground, by means of contrast.  The center of the candelabrum is ornamented with a horizontal base that blossoms from the center like a flowering acanthus plant with curling leaves.  This motif most likely framed a larger composition, perhaps one similar to the “Black Room” from the Villa of Agrippa Postumus at Boscotrecase (Metropolitan Museum of Art), in which candelabra present the illusion of illuminating the darkness of the room.