light and shadow at the house of faun

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Light and Shadow at the House of Faun. Matt Wilson. Brief Info on the Site. The House of Faun is a large, luxurious private estate located in Pompeii - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Matt Wilson

Light and Shadow at the House of Faun

The House of Faun is a large, luxurious private estate located in PompeiiIt is believed that construction began in the 2nd century BC and it is believed that the final architectural construction was completed in the first quarter of the 1st century BC, roughly around 89-85 BCContains a very famous piece of Hellenistic art, the Alexander MosaicThe house was rendered unusable following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, but the layers of ash helped to preserved the building itself and many of the artworks within it

Brief Info on the Site

The mosaic depicts the Battle of Issus, where Alexander the Great defeated the Persian king, Darius IIIThe mosaic was done in a more Hellenistic styleLocated within the Alexander exedra section of the complexFollowing the initial archaeological done in 1830, the mosaic itself was lifted and moved to the Museo Nazionale in Naples in 1843

The Alexander Mosaic

The Main EntranceTuscan AtriumTetrastyle AtriumFirst PeristyleAlexander Exedra*Second Peristyle

The Floor Plan

These areas were uniquely designed to provide an optimum view of one specific area of the house, namely the Alexander ExedraThe purpose of the Alexander exedra was ultimately to draw in the visitor's attention towards the main focal point of the house, the lavish Alexander MosaicAs Eugene Dwyer notes:the room is so strategically placed that it would not be an exaggeration to say that the rest of the house had been designed and built around the site with the great treasure of mosaic art set in its floor.The showcase of the mosaic is then further highlighted through the use of light and shadowThis becomes the basis for Ethan Grubers examination into the use of light and shadow at the House of FaunThe Purpose of the Alexander Exedra

Ethan Grubers Model, circa December 21st, 85 BC at 12:30 p.m. additional top-down perspective

3D models of the House of Faun

Gruber was tasked with created a 3D model of the House of Faun, which would show how the use of shading and lighting highlighted the Alexander Mosaic in the Alexander ExedraHis initial results were less than satisfactory; the five columns of the first peristyle, the roofing and the two columns of the Alexander exedra effectively covered the area in shadowHowever, upon realising the numerous renovations that took place over the houses construction, he realized that many of these designs were changedThis can be seen by the removal of the five columns and the roof covering the Alexander exedra, bringing in the optimal amount of sunlight to illuminate the mosaic, specifically during the winter solstice

Grubers Task

In Roman architecture important spaces are announced by being made visually prominent. GruberBy focusing on the lighting and shadowing of a specific point, the focal point of the architecture does not have to be based on large, grandiose structures (i.e. obelisks), they could instead focus on smaller featuresFor example, by having less available light in the two atriums, the visitors who entered the House of Faun would be drawn towards the large bright courtyards, instead of simply focusing in the areas there are inThen as the day progresses and sunlight begins to move towards the Alexander exedra, the visitors would once again be drawn to an even smaller location which ultimately highlights an extravagant piece of art The Purpose of Lighting/Shading

Dobbins, J. J. and Ethan Gruber. "Modeling Hypotheses in Pompeian Archaeology: The House of the Faun." 38th Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Granada, Spain: Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, 2010. 1-9. 23 October 2013. .Dwyer, Eugene. "The Unified Plan of the House of the Faun." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 60.3 (2001): 328-343. 23 October 2013. .

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