The Roman Fresco Experience
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The Roman Fresco Experience is a project led by the artist and philosopher Rayda Guzmán, with the participation of Marta García Morcillo and Ryan W. Cooper and in collaboration with Imagines Project. The experience consisted of a workshop held at the University of Roehampton (London) in November 2016, with the participation of 2nd year students of the degree Classical Civilisation. The framework of the workshop was a module on Ancient and Modern Pompeii. During the workshop, the students were introduced to the ancient technique of fresco both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view. As a model, we used a famous naturalist painting (the fresco from Livia’s House ad gallinas albas in Rome). The participants were asked to reproduce fragments of this fresco on wooden tablets using – as far as possible – similar techniques as those employed by Roman artists and artisans 2000 years ago.
This fully immersive and sensorial experience invited the students not only to learn how ancient frescoes were made, but to get a first-hand perspective about everyday challenges and problems faced by ancient practicioners. The collective outcomes of The Roman Fresco Experience were documented in a series of videos (see playlist below), as well as in a downloadable and free-accessible report published in the e-journal thersites (issue 5, 2017, link to issue and pdf attached).