Mosaic Floor with Combat Between Dares and Entellus

Object Details

Title:

Mosaic Floor with Combat Between Dares and Entellus

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman (Gallo-Roman)

Place(s):

Villelaure, France (Place created)

Villelaure, France (Place found)

Date:

about 175

Medium:

Stone and glass tesserae

Dimensions:

208 x 208 cm, 498.9522 kg (81 7/8 x 81 7/8 in., 1099.99 lb.)

See more

See less

In the Aeneid, the epic poem of Rome's founding, Aeneas honored the anniversary of his father's death by holding elaborate funeral games, including a boxing match. This match pitted the Trojan Dares against the local Sicilian champion Entellus. Although the fight was uneven because Dares was much younger and fitter than his opponent, eventually Entellus became enraged and pummeled the younger man. The fight was called and Entellus was awarded the prize bull, which he then sacrificed by shattering its skull with a single blow from his fist.

This Gallo-Roman mosaic illustrates the conclusion of the match. Entellus watches triumphantly as the defeated Dares, bleeding from his head, leaves the ring. The prize bull, shown between the opponents, has fallen to its knees from the blow. The illustration of this passage from the Aeneid is rare in Roman art. In fact, the only other mosaics depicting this subject are also from the southern part of the Roman province of Gaul and date to the mid to late 100s A.D. This leads scholars to believe that the scene was a specialty of a local workshop.

A central panel removed from a much larger floor, this mosaic was one of several that decorated a villa at Villelaure, today in southern France. The mosaic is formed from small tesserae cut from different colored stone, except for the horns of the bull, which are made from pale blue glass.

Provenance
1900 - still in 1919

M. Peyrusse (Villelaure, France), unearthed in 1900 and later sold to a dealer in Nimes or Avignon.

Unknown (Nimes or Avignon, France)

Dealer (Nimes or Avignon, France)

1920 - 1926

R. Ancel (Paris, France), sold to Joseph Brummer, 1926.

1926 -

Joseph Brummer, Hungarian, 1883 - 1947 (New York, New York), sold to William Randolph Hearst.

- still in 1951

William Randolph Hearst, American, 1863 - 1951 (San Simeon, California), sold to J. M. Evans (chief guard at San Simeon), after 1951.

after 1951 - 1971

James M. Evans (Cambria, CA), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum through Royal Athena Galleries, New York, 1971.

Exhibitions
Drink and Be Merry: Wine and Beer in Ancient Times (July 30 to November 5, 2000)
  • The Jewish Museum, (New York), July 30 to November 5, 2000
Bibliography

Bulletin Archeologique du Comite des Travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1900. p. CXIII, no. 3.

Comptes-rendus de l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris. 1900. p. 222.

Bulletin de la Societe Nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1900. p.167

LaFaye, G. "Rapport," Bulletin de la Societe Nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1901. pp. 117-18; ill. p. 119.

Fowler, Harold. "Archaeological News. Villelaure," AJA 6 (1902), p. 370.

Labande, L. H. "Les mosaiques romaines de Villelaure," Bulletin Archeologique du Comite des Travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1903, pp. 3-13. pp. 8-10; ill. p. 5.

Villefosse, H. de "Rapport," Bulletin Archeologique du Comite des Travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1903, pp. 13-32. pp. 20-23, no. D; pl. II.

LaFaye, G. Inventaire des mosaiques da la Gaule et de l'Afrique. Paris: 1909. Vol. I, fasc. 1, Narbonne et Aquitaine, p. 104.

Reinach, Salomon. Repertoire des Peintures Grecques et Romaines (RGPR), Paris, 1922, 278, no. 5.

Michon, E. Archives du Musee du Louvre, Antiquites Grecques et Romaines, A 5, 28 Fevrier 1923. Reference unverified.

Michon, E. Bulletin de la Societe Nationale des Antquaires de France, 1923. p. 109. He notes that two mosaiques from Villelaure are with a dealer in Paris.

Michon, 1923c. "Rapport," Bulletin Archeologique du Comite des Travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1923. p. LX.

Vermeule, Cornelius, and Norman Neuerberg. Catalogue of the Ancient Art in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1973. pp. 54-55, no. 114, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 55.

Lavagne, Henri. "Une Mosaique Gallo-Romaine au Musee J. Paul Getty," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 5 (1977), pp. 177-182.

Rey, J.-C. Histoire de Villelaure. (Credel, 1979). pp. 17-21.

Geymonat, Mario, ed. Eneide con episodi significativi di Iliade e Odissea. Bologna: Zanichelli, 1987. p. 156, fig. 16.

Seignoret, Chantal, Le chasseur de mosaiqes, Vaucluse Matin, vol. Sept.26, 1987 p. 4.

Egea, Michel. Entente et Dares sauves de la terre, le Provencal, vol. (Feburary 4, 1988)

Lavagne, Henri. "Le pavement de la rue des Magnans a Aix-en-Provence et la naissance des trames a 'decor multiple' dans la mosaique gallo-romaine," Gallia 51 (1994), pp. 202-215. pp. 213-14; fig. 8.

Lavange, Henri. Recueil general des mosaiques de la Gaule. Gallia Supplement 10, III. Province de Narbonnaise (Paris: CNRS Editions, 2000). pp. 306-308, fig. 48, no. 915, pl. CI.

Tallah, Linda. Le Luberon et pays d'Apt. Carte Archéologique de la Gaule (Paris: Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 2004), p. 374-375, fig. 469.

Gaday, Robert et al. La Tuilière à Villelaure (Vaucluse), Rapport final d'opération diagnostic (INRAP, 2006), p. 18-19.

Sauze, E. and J.-P. Muret. Villelaure et ses chateaux. (Lauris: Association "Pour le Luberon", 2008). pp. 11-18.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 221.

Di Mauro, Alberto. Italian Art in Los Angeles...

Leveau, Philip. "Villas et aristocraties municipales dans les cités d'Arles, de Glanum, d'Aix et de Marseille." In Fiches, Jean-Luc, et al. Paysages Ruraux et Territoires dans les cités de l'Occident Romain, Barcelona March 25-27, 2010 (Montpellier, 2013) p. 273.

Scanlon, Thomas F. ed. Sport in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Volume 2: Greek Athletic Identities and Roman Sports and Spectacle. (Oxford University Press: 2014), jacket illustration.