Sarofim School of Fine Arts

Art History Working Papers: New Discoveries of the Best Preserved Roman Garden Ever Found, Stabiae, Italy.

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Second of the 2011-12 series, on Jan. 24, 2012, Prof. Thomas Howe presented an illustrated paper on recent discoveries at the Roman site of Stabiae, where he is coordinator general of several teams.

Each semester, this intriguing series of lectures allows students, faculty from other departments, and the wider campus community a look into our professors’ own research. These presentations show first-hand what an active art historian does, and provides the unique opportunity for students to examine their instructors’ process and methodologies.

 

This was a re-presentation of a paper presented one year earlier at the national meetings of the American Institute of Archaeology: “The Garden of the Villa Arianna at Stabiae,” with Ian Sutherland, Kathyrn Gleason, 112th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, San Antonio, TX January 6 – 9, 2011.  The paper presented recent results of the team working on the large garden of the Villa Arianna at Stabiae since 2007, and presented preliminary interpretations. Most significantly, this is the largest well-preserved Roman garden ever found and the first in an elite villa. Also, it provides the first archaeological evidence for a type of garden which was thought to be only a lyric fantasy of Roman fresco painters: a type of fictive “wild” thicket, of the type known from the famous fresco of the villa of the Empress Livia at Prima Porta (see image).