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The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics: Track 1


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How can we read an image to tell us more about its ancient maker? In this album a mosaic artist, Catherine Parkinson, visits the splendidly-preserved ancient Roman mosaics at Brading Villa on the Isle of Wight. With the help of two archaeologists she discovers that the iconography reveals important clues about the villa inhabitants' world view, taste, and aspirations. Their leisure pursuits, the value placed on learning, and their views on men and women are just some of the themes revealed in the mythological narratives. Did the craftsmen bring pattern books to the villa owner so he could choose how to decorate his house, much like today? Catherine's own practical experience of mosaic-making also helps us understand the methods the Romans used to lay the mosaics. In the audio track, Open University classicist Jessica Hughes explores some of the issues surrounding interpretation of these mosaics' meanings. This material forms part of The Open University Course AA100 The arts and past and present.

By: The OpenLearn Team (The Open University)

  • Duration 28 minutes
  • Updated Tuesday 9th February 2010

Track 1: The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics

A short introduction to this album.

Tracks in this podcast:

Track Title Description
1 The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics A short introduction to this album. Play now The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics
2 Mosaics at Brading Villa Mosaic Artist Catherine Parkinson goes to visit a Roman Villa, Brading, on the Isle of Wight Play now Mosaics at Brading Villa
3 The Astronomer The iconography in this mosaic reveals more than meets the eye. Play now The Astronomer
4 The Cockheaded Man A mosaic like today's political cartoons. Play now The Cockheaded Man
5 Orpheus Clues that this mosaic was made in a hurry. Play now Orpheus
6 The Shepherd A mosaic depicting a castrated shepherd and a nymph Play now The Shepherd
7 Medusa Catherine Parkinson realises why this mosaic is laid a little crooked. Play now Medusa
8 Reading Roman Mosaics Open University classicist Jessica Hughes talks about the the Brading Villa mosaics and explores some of the issues raised in the video tracks. Play now Reading Roman Mosaics
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