Terracotta relief; a porticus
Such plaques, which mainly date between about 50 B.C. and 60 A.D., have subsequently been referred to as Campana reliefs. In the late republic and the early Imperial period Campana reliefs were used to protect and adorn the upper walls of temples, private houses, and funerary structures. Campana reliefs have mainly been found mainly in Rome and in Central Italy. They were mould-made in a serial production, and the same motifs are often repeated, mythological themes or subjects with religious overtimes being especially popular.
Description of object
The relief depicts a porticus in a building usually identifying as a palestra. The columns stand on bases shaped as a double torus. They carry an unadorned architrave, on which a frieze with horizontal lines rest. The latter supports the roof, of which the tiles are indicated. The relief is crowned by a frieze with palmette ornaments. A frontal statue of Hercules,the roman counterpart to the Greek hero Herakles, stands on a low basin in the central intercolumnium. He is shown as standing, nude, and is easily recognisable by his attributes: the lion skin above the left forearm and the club in his right hand. Hercules wears a full beard, and on each side of his head the ends of a ribbon are hanging down. The statue is a copy of a Greek type, the so-called Chiaramonti Herakles, which is thought to have been made in the 4th century B.C. The type is relatively rare in Roman art, and it is possible that a Hellenic replica – perhaps the original itself – stood in one of the numerous Herakles temples in Rome.
A pelta-shaped oscillum, a decorative element in the shape of the small crescent shields used by the Amazons, hangs from the ceilings in the adjoining intercolumnium. On the floor below it, a vase stands on a high, conical support. A herm, a pillar with summary renderings of arms and male genitals, stands in each of the outermost intercolumnia. Herms were originally crowned by heads of the god Hermes, as seen here.
Choice of methods
- Cross section
V. Poulsen 1949, no. 105. Cf. Jacopi 1943, 119, fig. 71 with references to more parallels. See also Rizzo 1976-1977, 40, fig. 44 and 46.
- IN 1704
- Architectural element
- c. 50 B.C.-60 A.D.
- Roman Republican
- Acquired at an auction in Rome in 1899.
- H: 37 cm; L: 46 cm.