A visit to the ancient Roman house in the Villa Negroni – rooms A and B

Let’s return to 1777, and continue our visit to the ancient Roman house uncovered in the fields of the Villa Negroni.

We shall descend into the pit, ably drawn by our English friend Thomas Jones.  It’s rather damp down there!  Since we’ve not been here before, I attach at the end the floor plan.

We stand at the entrance to the house.  This consists of a porch supported by two columns.  Through the doorway is a plain painted room.  A doorway to the left shows a staircase.  We shall go through the door in the right-hand wall, into another room, painted, but with marvellous paintings.

The roof is vaulted, so the tops of the paintings are semi-circular.  It contains two paintings, in fact.  These are being recorded by an artist, a Mr Mengs, for printing.

The first is a picture of Adonis, preparing to go hunting.  Click on the picture to see the full size image.[1]

Villa Negroni: Adonis setting out on a hunt.
Plate 4: Villa Negroni: Adonis setting out on a hunt.

Also in the room is another picture of Adonis, this time dying in the arms of Venus.[2]

Villa Negroni: Adonis dying in the arms of Venus
Plate 2: Villa Negroni: Adonis dying in the arms of Venus

Sadly the ceiling is missing, but I am assured that the artist will try to represent the end of the barrel-vaulted room, and the curved panels on either side, accurately.

Another depiction may be found at Wikimedia Commons:[3]

Villa Negroni: Adonis dying in the arms of Venus.
Plate 2: Villa Negroni: Adonis dying in the arms of Venus.

Here is the 1836 map:

Floor plan of the ancient house discovered in 1777 at the Villa Negroni
Floor plan of the ancient house discovered in 1777 at the Villa Negroni

The printed volume of plates was uncoloured, with the intention that they should be hand-coloured.  The shades of the colours naturally vary in different copies, therefore.

  1. [1]This from the Wellcome Trust, via Wikimedia Commons.
  2. [2]Noemi Cinelli, “‘Restrained brightness and archaic purity”: Fascination from the antiquity in the age of enlightenment: Villa Negroni’s frescoes in Rome: models of good taste according to Mengs and Azara”, European Review of Artistic Studies 4 (2013), 42-61. Online here, printing a copy from Seville.  Note that the plate number, from the publication, is in the bottom left or bottom right.
  3. [3]Again from the Wellcome Trust.  There is another image here, from a commercial site.

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