Wall painting from the west wall of Room L of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale
ca. 50–40 B.C.
Overall: 77 x 107in. (195.6 x 271.8cm)
Rogers Fund, 1903
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 164
This large painting fragment comes from the west wall of the exedra (Room L), opening off the rear of the villa's peristyle. A sacrificial bull's head (boukranion) originally occupied the center of the wall, from which an opulent garland of fruits and leaves is suspended to left and right against a brilliant wall of simulated masonry. Preserved are parts of four of the original five red slabs of the central zone, separated by golden bands and crowned by a white molding. There follows a course of alternating green and golden blocks that bears an elaborate entablature consisting of a white architrave, a purple frieze decorated with brackets in the form of bearded horned snakes with interlacing tails, and a white cornice. Hanging from a red cord tied in the bull's mouth is a wicker basket, the cista mystica, its lid removed to reveal a snake uncoiling from a bed of ivy. Suspended from the garland also in red cords are a cymbal and a satyr mask.
Lehmann, Phyllis Williams and Herbert Bloch. 1953. Roman Wall Paintings from Boscoreale in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Monographs on Archaeology and the Fine Arts, Vol. 5. no. 14, pp. 159, 207-8, pl. 34-36, Cambridge, Mass.: Archaeological Institute of America.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 376, pp. 324-25, 479, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Pappalardo, Umberto. 2008. The Splendor of Roman Wall Painting. pp. 44-5, Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.
Bergmann, Bettina. 2010. "New Perspectives on the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 67(4): pp. 20-1, fig. 31.
Harvey, Sarah M. 2010. "Iron Tools from a Roman Villa at Boscoreale, Italy, in the Field Museum and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology." American Journal of Archaeology, 114(4): pp. 697-714.
Barbet, Alix and Annie Verbanck-Piérard. 2012. La Villa Romaine de Boscoreale et Ses Fresques, Vol. I and II. pl. XIII, Paris: Errance.