The Lady from Pompeii

Portrait of a Woman, pre 79 CE. Mosaic found in Pompeii.
I was quite excited to see several treasures of mosaic art in the Pompeii exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum. Seeing this lovely lady close-up and in the flesh, so to speak, reveals details that photos can never do justice to. The tesserae (tiles) that make up the picture are so tiny, and positioned to create shading as subtle as that found in painting.

I especially love how the artist has articulated her mouth, using a range of shades from palest pink to deepest brown to indicate depth and volume.

The fabulous sea life mosaic is also on view. These works rarely leave Italy, so this is a wonderful opportunity to see how sophisticated Roman art could be.

Detail of Sea Creatures mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii.