Fresco Fragment: Woman on a Balcony

Object Details


Fresco Fragment: Woman on a Balcony






Italy (Place created)


about 9 B.C. - 14 A.D.




60 × 45.2 × 3 cm (23 5/8 × 17 13/16 × 1 3/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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A young woman stands looking out from a balcony on this Roman fresco fragment. She sips from a shallow cup and steadies an oinochoe, or pitcher, on the balcony railing. The identity of the woman remains uncertain. She may be a highborn daughter relaxing in her home, or she may be a servant girl avoiding her chores. Another interpretation is that the woman alludes to a famous work of the Greek painter Pausias made in the 300s B.C. that depicted Methe, the personification of drunkenness.

This fresco is only a small fragment cut from an entire wall of painted decoration. The color scheme used on the fragment associates it with the so-called Second Style of Roman wall painting, a style that used illusionistic architecture to create a three-dimensional effect. This fragment is probably from the upper zone of a small dining room, or triclinium. The right-to-left shadows cast by the bosses on the railing indicate that this painting originally decorated the right-hand wall of the room as one entered it.

- 1987

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1987.

1987 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman


and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995) (127)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), pp. 252-54, cat. no. 127.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 69.

Renfrew, Colin. Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership (London: Duckworth, 2000), pp. 28-30; pl. 2.

Ascherl, Jolana. Das Licht in der pompejanischen Wandmalerei. Regensburg: 2002, no. 357.