Fresco Fragment with Nilotic Landscape

Object Details

Title:

Fresco Fragment with Nilotic Landscape

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place(s):

Italy (Place created)

Date:

about 70

Medium:

Tempera on plaster (fresco)

Dimensions:

45.7 x 38 x 3.8 cm (18 x 14 15/16 x 1 1/2 in.)

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Foreground details indicate this waterscape's exotic locale. At the right, a small thatched hut and a scraggly palm tree contrast with the elaborate architecture of the background. A crocodile advances, about to attack a pygmy in a small boat. Pygmies, as well as dwarves, were popular and humorous subjects in Hellenistic and Roman art.

This fragment of a Roman wall painting depicts the annual flooding of the Nile River in Egypt. In the first century B.C., landscapes became a common subject for the painted walls of Roman private homes. Roman landscape painting derived from topographical painting for map illustration, which had developed in Hellenistic Alexandria. Beginning with the annexation of Egypt in 31 B.C. and continuing into the first century A.D., Egyptianizing subjects became popular in Roman art.

Provenance
- 1972

Elie Borowski, Polish, 1913 - 2003 (Basel, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972.

Bibliography

Vermeule, Cornelius, and Norman Neuerberg. Catalogue of the Ancient Art in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1973. pp. 48-49, no. 101, 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), pp. 21, 40.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 28 (color ill.).

The J. Paul Getty Museum Appointment Calendar. Malibu: 1981. Week of April 27.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 56.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 63.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) pp. 114-15.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 219.

M. J. Versluys, Aegyptiaca Romana: Nilotic Scenes and the Roman Views of Egypt (Leiden: Brill 2002). pp. 168-169, no. 77.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 223.

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