Roman interior decoration

We’ve just got back from the Scuderia del Quirinale, which is currently holding an exhibition on Roman art. Now this morning, had somebody else said that to me, I’d immediately be thinking of white statues of semi-draped goddesses and virile heroes. It’s a different Sam who stands before you now; a Sam who laughs at his earlier naivety. Roman art also includes pictures of semi-draped goddesses and virile heroes.

The exhibition’s split into 2 parts; the first being dedicated to what we’d call interior design I suppose, and the second being more the type of thing you’d expect to find in a gallery (portraits, still lifes etc). Both had some wonderful exhibits, but it’s the first part that seems to have made the greatest impression on me. You see, I’ve read books which have told me about the bright colours of Roman interiors, but whatever, in my head the classical world has always been characterised by white marble buildings.* Finally though, today’s museum trip has allowed me to dispel the last remaining vestiges of this image of pristinity. With examples dating from throughout the Julio-Claudian and Flavian dynasties, Roman houses of the period were anything but bland.

In these days of cream Dulux and a tastefully displayed Van Gogh print, it would be difficult to imagine matching 1 or 2 of the themes with a 3 piece suite and some curtains but, and I’ll bide my time before springing this on Rose, the idea of having the adventures of Ulysses painted on a massive scale directly onto our living room walls has now been firmly planted.

If anybody gets a chance to pop in, the exhibition’s on until January and it really is worth a visit.

*Actually, reaching that stage of visualisation was difficult enough. After having seen one too many Harryhausen films as a kid, that white marble filled my ancient Greece and Rome in the form of ruins housing fearsome plasticine monsters.

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