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lothia

Exterior design and decoration

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Ave Civitas,

 

I was wondering about the exterior of buildings, both public and private.

Did the Romans paint the outsides of houses and buildings.

The books I have show pictures of the interior of rooms.  They were decorated.

Can I rely on movies like "ROME" to give me authentic glimpses on how Romans decorated their houses and buildings.

 

I would think that since statues were painted, that they would not stop there and go on to decorate at least the facade, maybe paint the columns of temples, etc.

 

Any ideas?  Any sources that might help?

 

As always,  Thanks.

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Sheesh, I dunno. I have several video courses on roman architecture yet can't recall much external color other than accents on recreations. Maybe they didn't have good waterproof paint? Roman republic was mostly brick, which is it's own coloring. Their internal color could be so garish it almost makes me seasick and I would hope for plainer exterior.

 

They got multicolored stone from Egypt (for interiors?) then were revolutionized by discovery of nearby white marble at Carrera which got a lot of use. A lot of stuff was in tufa which one source claimed was thought a poor man's marble with it's honey color. Pompeii has grafitti/announcements on some external walls, which means we should know what the background color is... I haven't finished my last video course on Pompeii which may say.

 

P.S. the Pantheon exterior always looked like an ugly lump to me. Not sure if it lost some facing but a Yale Univ course claimed it wasn't meant to be seen from the outside... it was jammed within building complexes that led you to the interior thru almost a tunnel (meant to enhance the surprise).

Edited by caesar novus

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Thanks for the reply, Caesar.

 

I think it surprising that no one did any research on building exteriors.  The producers of "Rome" had some that I remember from their opening menu, but I have seen nothing in books or online about it.

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One source is authentic roman painting/frescos depicting building exteriors. A quick scan of google pictures suggests most are off-white with occasional red columns. A strong exception is posted below from inside a Pompeii villa. There was a period when it was fashionable to show fantasy architecture in paintings, and maybe some of the colorful ones show some distant exotic style.
 
690px-Scene_3%2C_left.jpg

vs pompeii amphitheater district cityscape:

18ea229a111df202ecefbb2de1bd9ddd.jpg

Edited by caesar novus
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Today's discovery science channel had an Unearthed episode on the Parthenon, and discussed it's exterior paint. First they showed odd bits protected from the weather that had blue and red paint on it. Next they showed a guess of the overall look, which was mainly natural marble with a bunch of decorative banding near the top.

 

Finally they addressed the question how could you stick any paint to glossy marble 2500 years ago. A Greek artist demonstrated a guess made by dissolving gummy tree resin into melted wax, then adding color powder. You would etch the marble to create lines so unruly paint wouldn't cross beyond it's border, and keep reheating the paint and the brush itself. The trick was to apply very hot to burn off any dampness on the marble to allow a bond.

 

Science HD channel seems one of the last to offer meaty 1 hour documentaries on the ancients, without cheesy docudrama. They seem allergic to Rome so far, and want to glorify less accomplished cultures to my eye. When younger I had exactly that bias too. China wall episode was good at least visually, but kinda pathetic glorifying the mortar as miraculous due to perhaps having rice gruel in it... no match for Roman mortar tho.

Edited by caesar novus

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