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 remaining 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.
Representations of food and items associated with the preparation and serving of meals were often found in the floor mosaics and wall paintings of Roman houses. While images of foodstuffs could convey messages about the abundance and assortment of fare to be served to one’s guests at a private banquet, representations of nonedible items used in cooking and serving food, such as this brazier, a metal bowl used for heating and cooking, or this oval object that might be a platter or a loaf of bread, reinforced the themes of dining and hospitality. The sack might have contained money or flour.
- On View, Gallery 152
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Ancient Roman
- Mosaic Floor Panel Depicting a Brazier
- 100 CE–200 CE
- Stone, mortar
- 27.9 × 27.9 × 5.1 cm (11 × 11 × 2 in.)
- Promised gift of Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross