Roman - Mosaic Floor: Medusa, 117-138 CE


Mosaic Floor: Medusa, 117-138 CE

Stone and glass , 500.4 x 1258.1 cm (197 x 495 5/16 in.)


In 1892, an ancient villa, or country home for a wealthy Roman, was discovered just north of Rome, near the villa of Livia, the wife of the first Roman emperor Augustus. Several well-preserved mosaic floors adorned the baths of the villa. Jack and Isabella Gardner inspected the mosaics in 1895 and purchased this floor in 1897. The delicate tracery of this mosaic resembles those made in Pompei around 25 AD (the late second or third style), but brick stamps indicate that it was laid a century later, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. A second mosaic from the villa, showing two figures in Egyptian style, is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Source: Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 11.