A White Fresco Fragment

By
Adam Tabeling
Adam Tabeling is a second-year 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 will be attending the American School of Classical Studies at Athens this summer.

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  • Accession Number: JHUAM HT505
  • Measurements: Length: 10.5cm, Width: 9.5cm
  • Material: Paint, plaster
  • Culture/Date: Roman, 1st c. CE
  • Provenance: Unknown

Images of Roman cult and religion often appeared on the painted walls of domestic spaces, and this fresco fragment is a testament of the popularity of such religious motifs.  Here, a small shrine – with ornamented columns and a golden garland hanging from its pediment – houses a golden cult statue of a god or goddess, which stands on a tall base.  Notice the two torches that lean on the left side of the shrine.  Torches were common offerings in sacral-religious landscapes and, here, they may suggest that torchlight was used to illuminate the cult statue.