The J. Paul Getty Museum

Interior of Roman Building with Figures

Object Details


Interior of Roman Building with Figures


Ettore Forti (Italian, active late 19th century - early 20th century)




late 19th century


Oil on canvas

Object Number:



60.3 × 100.3 cm (23 3/4 × 39 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Ettore Forti meticulously researched the classical objects and decorations in this historical genre painting, but he improbably combined a grand, luxurious setting with an intimate, domestic social gathering. He copied the painted architecture, swags of fruit and leaves, hanging masks, and instruments from Roman frescoes and based the floor marble and mosaic patterns, window grill pattern, and the klismos chair type on Roman models. The statues copy examples in Roman public and private collections.

By the late 1800s, such paintings of ancient Greece and Rome were very popular. Artists researched the elements of their settings and painted with careful photographic realism to present plausible representations of daily life in classical times. Many of these genre scenes also have erotic undercurrents, with languidly beautiful young women in the company of older men.

- 1938

N. Mitchell (possibly Nathan Mitchell) (London, England), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1938.

1938 - 1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Malibu, California; Sutton Place, Surrey, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - 1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Picturing the Ancient World (May 4 to August 30, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), May 4 to August 30, 1993

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 44, ill.

Cébeillac-Gervasoni, Mireille. Les magistrats des cités italiennes de la seconde guerre punique à Auguste: Le Latium et la Campanie (Rome: École française de Rome, 1998), cover ill.

Szeto, Naomi Yin Yin. The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: Chairs for Viewing the World through Time (Hong Kong: Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2014), p. 37, ill.