I was so excited to see the notice about the "Stories in Stone" exhibit of north African Roman Mosaics that has opened at the Getty Villa! I had hoped to go down there and now I have a particular reason to go before April 30, 2007!
"This exhibition presents a selection of mosaics from the national museums of Tunisia. They are among the finest of the thousands of mosaics produced between the second and the sixth centuries A.D. in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis, a portion of which is known today as Tunisia.
These works, fashioned as pavements for both public buildings and private homes, represent subjects such as nature, theater and spectacle, and myths, gods, and goddesses. The exhibition also includes material on the conservation of mosaics and on the work of the Getty Conservation Institute's field project on conservation of mosaics in situ.
Mosaic art flourished in North Africa, where the diversity of limestone and marble fostered a tradition of polychromatic (multicolored) work. Beginning in the late second century, mosaics made in Roman Africa became more colorful, featuring geometric designs embellished with floral patterns. During the third century, scenes with figures emerged. In public baths, for example, mosaics often related to the sea and depicted natural elements as well as marine gods. In the fourth century, increasingly original decorative motifs included laurel garlands and crowns as borders. Figural compositions portrayed vignettes of daily life, such as hunting, fishing, athletics, and amphitheater games."
I was afraid I might never get a chance to travel to Tunisia to see their wonderful mosaics because of my husbands fear of me traveling in the region because of all of the anti-American sentiment. Now I have a chance to see at least some of them.
Maybe I can arrange to visit by February 1 and then I can see the special lecture, Puzzling Iconography:
Christine Kondoleon, senior curator of Greek and Roman art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, explores the enigmatic iconography of several mosaics in the exhibition
Thursday, February 1, 2007, 8:00 p.m.
I also noticed that the Getty is selling two very interesting books on mosaics:
Stories in Stone: Conserving Mosaics of Roman Africa
Edited by Aicha Ben Abed and
Tunisian Mosaics: Treasures from Roman Africa
By Aicha Ben Abed
The Getty is charging $75 for the first book (a hardcover) and $29.95 for the second book but I found the first book on Amazon and preordered it for only $29.95 and the second book for only $19.77. Plus I don't have to stuff them in my suitcase!