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Chiswick House, Red Velvet Room ceiling J970259 Featured Roman Architecture Print

Chiswick House, Red Velvet Room ceiling J970259

CHISWICK HOUSE, London. Interior. View of the ceiling in the Red Velvet Room.
The ceiling is inset with painted panels attributed to William Kent and has usually been interpreted as an allegory of the Arts. The panels around the edge, for example, incorporate musical instruments, portrait roundels of gods and goddesses (Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Diana and Apollo) and their appropriate Zodiac signs. In the central panel the messenger god Mercury hovers above a stone arch, below which is a group of figures with further emblems of the visual arts: Architecture is represented by a bare-chested woman with a set square and a cherub with a plan of a Roman temple, Sculpture by a fallen bust of Inigo Jones, and Painting by a woman unveiling a self-portrait of Kent.
The radical alternative interpretation of this symbolism is that it alludes to the ritual of the Royal Arch masonic lodge. Red is the Royal Arch colour, so the red velvet on the walls is symbolic, as is the red drape which is being removed to reveal Kent's portrait in the ceiling. The traditional implements of the architect and sculptor, depicted in the ceiling, are likewise masonic emblems, while the combination of an arch below a rainbow which occurs in the ceiling painting was apparently a common subject of early Royal Arch lodge banners. The suggestion, therefore, is that this room could have been designed by Burlington and Kent - both of whom were certainly freemasons - to function as a masonic meeting place

© Jeremy Young

View of the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the Piazza Colonna, from the Views Featured Roman Architecture Print

View of the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the Piazza Colonna, from the Views

XJF497227 View of the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the Piazza Colonna, from the Views of Rome series, c.1760 (etching) by Piranesi, Giovanni Battista (1720-78); Private Collection; (add.info.: Vedute di Roma, Colonna Antonina. ); Italian, out of copyright

© Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com

Ancient, Antonina, Architecture, Aurelius, City, Colonna, Column, Di, Marcus, Monument, Monumental, Piazza, Roma, Roman, Rome, Scene, Series, Square, Street, Triumphal, Vedute, View, Views

Theatre, Sabratha, Libya Featured Roman Architecture Print

Theatre, Sabratha, Libya

The Roman Theatre of Sabratha in Libya. The magnificent late 3rd century theatre, that retains its three-storey architectural backdrop. This view of the empty theatre is from the top row of seating looking towards the stage and backdrop. In the background is the Mediterranean Sea and a clear blue sky. Sabratha, in the Zawia district in the northwestern of Libya, was the westernmost of the three cities of Tripolis. It lies on the Mediterranean coast about 65km (40 miles) west of Tripoli (ancient Oea). The archaeological site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.Sabratha's port was established, perhaps about 500 BC, as a Phoenician trading-post that served as a coastal outlet for the products of the African hinterland. Sabratha became part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The Emperor Septimus Severus was born nearby in Leptis Magna, and Sabratha reached its monumental peak during the rule of the Severans. The city was badly damaged by earthquakes during the 4th century, particularly the quake of AD 365. It was rebuilt on a more modest scale by Byzantine governors. Within a hundred years of the Arab conquest of the maghreb, trade had shifted to other ports and Sabratha dwindled to a village