Winged female figure
Fresco of the 2nd style from Pompeii (VII. 16. 22).
171 × 124 cm.
Inv. No. 41653.Naples, National Archaeological Museum

Winged female figure.

Fresco of the 2nd style from Pompeii (VII. 16. 22).
171 × 124 cm.
Inv. No. 41653.

Naples, National Archaeological Museum
(Napoli, Museo archeologico nazionale).

Pompeii, Archaeological Park, House of Marcus Fabius Rufus (VII, 16, 22).
Pompeii, VII. 16. 22, House of M. Fabius Rufus.

6. Winged female figure

Inv. no. 41653.
Pompeii VII 16, 22 (House of M. Fabius Rufus).
171 × 124 cm.

This panel is made up of fragments and shows a life-size winged female figure in the foreground with her head turned three-quarters to the left in the form of a caryatid, supporting a corbel protruding from an architrave. The figure, adorned with gold jewellery (a necklace with rubies, earrings and a bracelet) holds in both hands a garland of ivy leaves decorated in the centre with a large bow of yellow fabric with purple stripes, which is loosely draped.

The pale flesh tones which are cleverly illuminated, as if to emphasise the statuary nature of the figure, and the soft hues of the wings, contrast with the bright colours of the architectural composition in the background against which the figure is silhouetted. This composition is a square panel surrounded by a border decorated with dolphins and palmettes, below which appears a flight of columns in perspective with a door in between. The iconography of the figure suggests a winged female figure at the House of the Epigrams, probably Season, in the manner of Abundance or Flora (see Moorman 1988, p. 162). It represents a goddess of vegetation, which stylistically and symbolically recalls a winged male figure in a fragment of decoration from the villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, now at the Louvre (see Tran Tam Tinh 1974, pp. 43—46, no. 22).

The exact wall from which the fragment from the first floor of the House of M. Fabius Rufus comes is not known. From comparison with similar paintings it probably belongs to the second decorative style, phase IIb (Beyen), featuring an architectural composition in the central part of the wall with winged female figures in the form of caryatids. The iconography suggests that the lower part of the figure, which is missing, would have been a herm or trailing vegetation.

Winged female figures similar to caryatids are frequent in second style Pompeian painting, for example, in the House of M. Caesius Blandus and in the House of Menander.

Caterina Cicirelli (2001)
Cicirelli, in Pompeii. Picta fragmenta. Decorazioni parietali dalle città sepolte, exhibition catalogue, Turin 1997, p. 76, no. 6;
Cicirelli, in Pittura nella Reggia dalle città sepolte. Affreschi antichi da Pompei, Stabiae, Ercolano, exhibition catalogue, Naples 1999, p. 84, no. 46.
© 2001. Photo, text: Pompeii. Images from the buried cities. Electa, Napoli, 2001. P. 44, cat. no. 6.
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Keywords: ζωγραφικήί pictura ars picturae painting pittura malerei peinture φρεσκογραφία τοιχογραφία νωπογραφία wall fresco frescos frescoes opera parietale murale opere parietali murali affresco affreschi freskomalerei frischmalerei wandmalerei fresko fresken fresque fresques pintura mural ρωμαϊκές roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines 2nd second style secondo stile pompeiano zweiten stil deuxième πομπηία pompeii pompeian pompei pompeji pompeianischen pompejanischen pompéi pompéien personification personificazione personifikation personifizierung personnification season seasons stagione stagioni zeiten jahreszeiten saison ivy wreath corona di edera efeukranz couronne de lierre hedera στεφάνι κισσού bracelet braccialetto bracciale armband armreif armspange spange armilla βραχιόλι garland garlands ghirlanda ghirlandi girlande guirlande serta γιρλάντα earring earrings orecchino orecchini ohrring ohrringe boucle d’oreille knot nodo knoten noeud nœud necklace collana halskette collier torquis κολιέ palmette palmetta dolphin dolphins delfino delphin dauphin delphinus δελφίνια column colonna kolonne säule colonne columna κολόνα στύλος winged alata geflügelte ailée alatus φτερωτό φτερωτή perspective prospettiva perspektive προοπτική caryatid cariatide karyatide caryatide καρυάτιδα καρυάτις καρυάτιδες adornment adornments adornamento adornamenti schmuck verzierungen ornement holding ghirlandoforo ghirlandofori house of marcus fabius rufus vii 16 22 casa fabio rufo female figure figura femminile weibliche figur féminine inv no 41653