Museum Home Past Exhibitions Stories in Stone: Conserving Mosaics of Roman Africa

October 26, 2006–April 30, 2007 at the Getty Villa

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Neptune Driving Chariot / Unknown

This exhibition presents a selection of mosaics from the national museums of Tunisia. They are among the finest of the thousands of mosaics produced between the second and the sixth centuries A.D. in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis, a portion of which is known today as Tunisia.

These works, fashioned as pavements for both public buildings and private homes, represent subjects such as nature, theater and spectacle, and myths, gods, and goddesses. The exhibition also includes material on the conservation of mosaics and on the work of the Getty Conservation Institute's field project on conservation of mosaics in situ.

Mosaic art flourished in North Africa, where the diversity of limestone and marble fostered a tradition of polychromatic (multicolored) work. Beginning in the late second century, mosaics made in Roman Africa became more colorful, featuring geometric designs embellished with floral patterns. During the third century, scenes with figures emerged. In public baths, for example, mosaics often related to the sea and depicted natural elements as well as marine gods. In the fourth century, increasingly original decorative motifs included laurel garlands and crowns as borders. Figural compositions portrayed vignettes of daily life, such as hunting, fishing, athletics, and amphitheater games.

Stories in Stone is co-organized by the Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP), Tunisia.

The exhibition is located at the Getty Villa, Museum, Floor 2.

Merrill Lynch

The exhibition is sponsored by Merrill Lynch.