Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Mosaic pavement with Egyptianizing scene

Period:
Mid Imperial, Late Hadrianic or Early Antonine
Date:
ca. A.D. 130–150
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Stone and glass
Dimensions:
46 1/2 × 46 1/4 in. (118.1 × 117.5 cm)
Classification:
Miscellaneous-Mosaic
Credit Line:
Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1945
Accession Number:
45.16.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
The mosaic, made of stone and glass tesserae, was found near Prima Porta, just north of Rome, in 1892. It was one of several mosaics uncovered in a villa complex. The two figures in the central panel wear Egyptian dress; the man standing on the left has been identified as a priest, making an offering to the seated figure, regarded as the goddess Isis. However, the interpretation of the scene remains problematic. Egypt held a special fascination for the Romans as a land of great wealth and antiquity, and its exotic character is often found reflected in Roman architecture, statuary, frescoes, and other decorative arts. The scene may therefore be imaginary, intended merely to convey an Egyptian atmosphere. The surrounding geometric and floral designs, on the other hand, are typically Roman.
Said to be from a villa excavated in 1892 in the Prima Porta district near Rome.

Marchetti, D. 1892. "VI. Roma: Via Flaminia." Notizie degli scavi di antichità, 17: pp. 112-5.

Marucchi, O. 1892. "Di un Pavimento a Mosaico con Figure Egizie Scoperto Preso La Via Flaminia." Bullettino della Commissione archeologica Comunale di Roma, 20: pp. 160-74, pl. 7f.

Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung. 1892. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 7: p. 195.

Karl Baedeker. 1893. Italy: Handbook for Travellers. Part 2: Central Italy and Rome, 11 ed.. p. 335, Leipsic: Karl Baedeker.

Bénédite, Georges. 1893. "La Mosaïque de Prima Porta." Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'École française de Rome, 13. pp. 49-59.

Karl Baedeker. 1909. Italy: Handbook for Travellers. Part 2: Central Italy and Rome, 15 ed.. p. 431, Leipsic: Karl Baedeker.

Reinach, Salomon. 1922. Répertoire de Peintures Grecques et Romaines. p. 160, fig. 8, Paris: Ernest Leroux.

Lugli, Giuseppe. 1923. "Studi topografici intorno alle antiche ville suburbane: La villa di Livia “ad gallinas albas” al IX miglio della via Flaminia." Bullettino della Commissione archeologica Comunale di Roma, 55: pp. 26-42.

Blake, Marion Elizabeth. 1936. "Roman Mosaics of the Second Century in Italy." Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, 13. pp. 76, 118-9, 182, pl. 25, 3.

Ehlich, Werner. 1953. Bild und Rahmen im Altertum : die Geschichte des Bilderrahmens. pp. 55-6, fig. 16, Leipzig: E. A. Seemann.

Wedekind, Gerhard. 1962. "Notes." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 20(7): p. 236.

Cook, Brian. 1964. "The Boscoreale Cubiculum: A New Installation." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 22(5): p. 167.

Grimm, G. 1965[1963]. Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz, 10: p. 213.

Oliver, Andrew Jr. 1965. "The Montebello Mosaics." American Journal of Archaeology, 69(3). p. 268ff., pl. 71, fig. 2; pl. 72, figs. 3-4.

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