Woman on a balcony
Fresco fragment of the Second style.
10 BCE — 14 CE.
60 × 45.2 × 3 cm.
Inv. No. 96.AG.172.Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu

Woman on a balcony.

Fresco fragment of the Second style.
10 BCE — 14 CE.
60 × 45.2 × 3 cm.
Inv. No. 96.AG.172.

Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu.

Until 1987 — Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1987.
1987—1996 — Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.
A young woman stands looking out from a balcony on this Roman fresco fragment. She wears a loose-fitting, sleeved tunic, cinched at the waist, along with a sakkos (cap), which matches the tunic’s light green color. She sips from a shallow cup held in her right hand, and balances an oinochoe (pitcher) on the railing of a balcony. The figure stands within an illusionistic architectural setting. Broad bands of black and red frame the scene at the left, and additional bands of color can be seen below the balcony. It seems at first as though the artist neglected to depict the figure’s legs behind the railing; however, some brushstrokes in the appropriate interstices may suggest that her lower body was once depicted but has almost entirely vanished.

This fresco is only a small fragment from an entire wall of painted decoration that included other framed scenes. The color scheme used on the panel associates it with the so-called Second Style of Roman wall painting, a style popular in the first century A.D. that used illusionistic architecture to create a three-dimensional effect. The subject is appropriate for a triclinium, the dining room of an ancient Roman home. However, the identity of the woman remains uncertain.

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), pp. 252—254, cat. no. 127.

“Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998”. The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997—98), p. 69.

Renfrew, Colin. Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership (London: Duckworth, 2000), pp. 28—30; pl. 2.

Ascherl, Jolana. Das Licht in der pompejanischen Wandmalerei. Regensburg: 2002, no. 357.
(cc) 2019. Photo, text: The J. Paul Getty Museum (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
Keywords: ζωγραφικήί pictura ars picturae painting pittura malerei peinture ρωμαϊκές roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines 2nd second style secondo stile pompeiano zweiten stil deuxième φρεσκογραφία τοιχογραφία νωπογραφία wall fresco frescos frescoes opera parietale murale opere parietali murali affresco affreschi freskomalerei frischmalerei wandmalerei fresko fresken fresque fresques pintura mural girl young woman ragazza mädchen mädel jeune fille κοπέλα tunica tunic tunika tunique cup bowl coppa becher schale coupe oenochoe oinochoe œnochoé οινοχόη fence recinto umzäunung barrière enceinte φράχτης vicolo del balcone pensile sakkos cap σάκκος balcony balkon balcon on a inv no 96.ag.172