samples of painters pigments from pompeii

Samples of Painters’ Pigments Found at Pompeii

How Did Roman Painters Create Frescoes?

Exhibition Lecture

John Clarke

University of Texas at Austin

This lecture will take place online; a Zoom link will be provided via email to registered participants.

Registration is required at THIS LINK.

In this lecture, Professor John R. Clarke demonstrates how ordinary Roman wall painters laid out whole-room decorations. He goes on to explain the working methods of specialist picture-painters, called imaginarii, who used sketchbooks, figure-books, and shaded underpaintings (sinopie) to create the mythological and genre scenes like those in the exhibition.

Professor Clarke has taught ancient Roman art in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas since 1980. His work has focused on domestic architecture, mosaics, and wall painting. In the mid-nineties he began to write about how visual representation sheds light on the practices of Roman life, including sexuality and humor. He has published many books and articles on these and related subjects. Since 2005 Professor Clarke has directed the Oplontis Project, focused on an archaeological site three miles from Pompeii. The Project, a collaboration among scientists, archaeologists, and art historians, has produced two big Open-Access volumes on Villa A, a World Heritage Site renowned for its frescoes and sculptures. He is recipient of the 2017 gold medal for Distinguished Achievement in Archaeology from the Archaeological Institute of America.

This lecture is given in conjunction with ISAW's exhibition Pompeii in Color: The Life of Roman Painting. The exhibition is made possible by generous support from The Achelis and Bodman Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Leon Levy Foundation. Additional funding provided by Victoria Newhouse.

pompeii exhibition banner

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