About this artwork
Eight Fragments from a Mosaic Pavement
While on the Grand Tour, Lord Charles Kinnaird and Lord George William Russell inspected in 1823 the remains of a large mosaic that had recently been discovered in a vineyard on Monte Rosario, outside Rome’s Porta Portuensis gate. Once the floor of a luxurious home, the mosaic comprised concentric bands of multihued figural decoration as well as boldly contrasting ornamental patterns that framed a central scene, which over time had been irreparably damaged by the roots of a tree.
The two men purchased and divided the finds. Among the pieces of the mosaic acquired by Lord Kinnaird were eight small panels, six of which depicted still lifes of foodstuffs
and objects used in the preparation of meals, while the remain- ing two contained the busts of figures assumed to be personifications of seasons. All eight pieces were designed to fit into a meander-pattern border that encircled the now-missing central figural scene. Based on a drawing made at the time of the mosaic’s discovery, the original pavement is thought to have been approximately 30 × 27 1/2 feet.
This bust of a female figure is one of two recovered from the corners of one band of the much larger mosaic pavement that once contained all eight fragments. She wears a wreath in rich tones of green and blue, perhaps indicating that she is the personification of Spring or Summer. The other surviving bust, which is displayed in this case, is crowned with a wreath of grain stalks and might be Autumn. Personifications of all four seasons were frequently depicted together to symbolize the harmony and stability of nature and as well as the cyclical movement of time.
- On View, Gallery 152
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Ancient Roman
- Mosaic Floor Panel Depicting a Personification of a Season
- 100 CE–200 CE
- Stone, glass, mortar
- 28.9 × 28.9 × 5.1 cm (11 3/8 × 11 3/8 × 2 in.)
- Promised gift of Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross