Roman Mosaics

In the J. Paul Getty Museum

Alexis Belis

With an introduction by Christine Kondoleon, and contributions by Nicole Budrovich, Kenneth Lapatin, and Sean Leatherbury

In Roman decor, elaborate mosaics transformed entire rooms into spectacular settings of vibrant color, figural imagery, and abstract design. Intricate patterns and narrative scenes were created by setting tesserae—small pieces of stone or glass—into floors and walls. The mosaics in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum span the second through the sixth centuries AD and reveal the diversity of compositions found throughout the empire during this period. Recovered from various archaeological contexts, these mosaics provide a glimpse into the richly embellished architecture of the ancient world.

Antioch Excavation

Excavating the Past

Several mosaics in the Getty’s collection came from known sites in the Roman Empire and survived from antiquity in their original architectural contexts, having once decorated villas, baths, and churches. Presented here is rich archaeological evidence and new material documenting the mosaics’ modern discoveries, particularly from excavations in Villelaure and Antioch.

Mosaics on Display

This catalogue includes mosaics featured in Roman Mosaics across the Empire, on view at the Getty Villa in 2016. The exhibition showcases ten mosaics from the Getty alongside treasures on loan from other collections, including LACMA’s mosaic of Diana and Callisto, which was discovered in the same villa in Villelaure as the Getty’s mosaic of Dares and Entellus.

View the Catalogue

Online collection catalogue published by the J. Paul Getty Museum,
and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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