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Light, space and affluent taste : ancient pompeian houses and their decoration

Masters, S. (2009)

CITATION: Masters, S. 2009. Light, space and affluent taste : ancient Pompeian houses and their decoration. Akroterion, 54:141-157, doi:10.7445/54-0-32.

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While Pompeian houses vary in size, ground plan, opulence and specific decorative schemes, they do tend to exemplify certain consistent design motivations. The owner of an urban Pompeian house — or domus — of whatever size, seems to aim towards creating a certain kind of domestic space. This paper investigates some aspects of the design and decoration of Pompeian houses of roughly the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD, with a particular interest in motives — practical, social, and aspirational — for creating domestic spaces of a particular kind. In doing so three key principles of Pompeian house design and interior decoration will be highlighted: the maximisation of light and space and the display of affluent taste.

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