The Bronze Age frescoes from Akrotiri on the Aegean island of Thera (modern-day Santorini) provide some of the most famous images from the ancient Greek world. Sometime between 1650 and 1550 BCE Thera suffered a devastating earthquake which...
Frescoes are the source of some of the most striking imagery handed down to us from the Minoan civilization of Bronze Age Crete (2000-1500 BCE). Further, without written records, they are often the only source, along with decorated pottery...
Colour & Technique in Renaissance Painting
There were three principal painting techniques during the Renaissance: fresco, tempera, and oils. In all of these techniques, colour was an important part of the painter's armoury, allowing them to create images that would strike a chord...
Roman Wall Painting
The interiors of Roman buildings of all description were very frequently sumptuously decorated using bold colours and designs. Wall paintings, fresco and the use of stucco to create relief effects were all commonly used by the 1st century...
"Sappho" fresco, Pompeii
Fresco showing a woman holding writing implements, a wax tablet and stylus. Commonly called Sappho, the fresco actually portrays a high-society Pompeian woman, richly dressed with gold-threaded hair and large gold earrings. From Pompeii...
Fresco Showing the Riot of 59 CE in the Amphitheatre of Pompeii
Fourth Style fresco depicting a riot that broke out in Pompeii in 59 CE during games held in the arena involving Pompeians and inhabitants of Nuceria. On the orders of Nero, this event led to the closure of the amphitheatre for ten years...
Lilies Fresco, Akrotiri
The Lilies Fresco from Akrotiri on the Aegean island of Thera, modern-day Santorini (also known as the Spring Fresco). From Room 2 of Building Delta, c. 17th century BCE. Lilies or papyrus are depicted growing from colourful volcanic rocks...
Garden Fresco, Livia's Villa, Rome
A section of the garden fresco from the triclinium or dining room from Livia's Villa, Rome, 1st century BCE. The fresco runs around all four walls and gives a 360° panorama of a luxuriant garden with birds and insects against a brilliant...
Fresco of Duck and Tripod, Columbarium 3, Vigna Codini
This fresco is on the first landing of the columbarium discovered in 1852 CE at the Vigna Codini, on the strip of land between Via Latina and Via Appia. The fresco has crumbled from the wall, revealing the first-century CE opus reticulatum...
Boxer Fresco, Delos
A detail of the fresco from the façade of a private house on Delos. The fresco depicts two boxers or wrestlers, a trumpeter and Hercules. 2-1st century BCE. (Site museum, Delos)