E.J.Wilkins

14 Sep 2010 445 views
 
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photoblog image Mérida, Spain

Mérida, Spain

National Museum of Roman Art

This is a ceramic/clay Roman theatrical mask. I presume it's meant to show the wearer is a bit grumpy or disdainful.

 

It was/is on display at the National Museum of Roman Art (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano), I think on the ground floor not far from the entrance, where there are a lot of artefacts relating to the theatre.

 

In case you didn't see yesterday's picture and the commentary, Mérida contains 29 UNESCO World Heritage sites listed, in 1993, as the "Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida" The Museum is listed as number 20.

 

Mérida was ...


Founded by legionaries of Augustus in 24 B.C., Mérida became the most important Roman city in Spain by the fall of the empire. Almost completely destroyed after the Muslim invasion, it began to recover under Arab rule. It has endured through the centuries, and today is a modest rural town in the province of Extremadura.

 

The Museum itself, or should I say the architect, José Rafael Moneo, has been awarded well deserved prizes. The brief for the museum had been


... to build a museum that would offer people an opportunity to understand aspects of the town's Roman heritage. Without falling into a strict imitation of Roman architecture, Moneo adopted the Roman construction system - massive masonry-bearing walls filled with concrete. Other Roman building techniques, materials, and proportions were utilized as well, and prominence was given to construction as an expression of architecture itself. The materiality of the Roman brick wall becomes, finally, the most important feature in the architecture of the museum.

 

The main exhibition hall is traversed by a series of parallel walls that have been opened with towering arches. The perspective view through the arches reveals the scale of the building and expresses the continuity of the space therein. These walls also define lateral bays for the display of some of the most valuable pieces in the museum's collection. The walls function as partitions, on which are hung cornices, capitals, mosaics, and fragments of statuary. These surfaces are not considered to be mere neutral supports for the objects; rather, the translucent white marble of the relics may be seen in a dialectical interplay with the material presence of the brick walls. Natural light, another fundamental concern in the museum's design, enters through skylights above and windows set high in the facades. The constantly changing intensity and color of the light contributes to the dialogue between the works of art and the building itself.

 

If you'd like to know more about this amazing Museum and some of its' priceless and awe-inspiring exhibits please take a look the text accompanying other pictures I've uploaded, they can be found - here -.

.

Mérida, Spain

National Museum of Roman Art

This is a ceramic/clay Roman theatrical mask. I presume it's meant to show the wearer is a bit grumpy or disdainful.

 

It was/is on display at the National Museum of Roman Art (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano), I think on the ground floor not far from the entrance, where there are a lot of artefacts relating to the theatre.

 

In case you didn't see yesterday's picture and the commentary, Mérida contains 29 UNESCO World Heritage sites listed, in 1993, as the "Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida" The Museum is listed as number 20.

 

Mérida was ...


Founded by legionaries of Augustus in 24 B.C., Mérida became the most important Roman city in Spain by the fall of the empire. Almost completely destroyed after the Muslim invasion, it began to recover under Arab rule. It has endured through the centuries, and today is a modest rural town in the province of Extremadura.

 

The Museum itself, or should I say the architect, José Rafael Moneo, has been awarded well deserved prizes. The brief for the museum had been


... to build a museum that would offer people an opportunity to understand aspects of the town's Roman heritage. Without falling into a strict imitation of Roman architecture, Moneo adopted the Roman construction system - massive masonry-bearing walls filled with concrete. Other Roman building techniques, materials, and proportions were utilized as well, and prominence was given to construction as an expression of architecture itself. The materiality of the Roman brick wall becomes, finally, the most important feature in the architecture of the museum.

 

The main exhibition hall is traversed by a series of parallel walls that have been opened with towering arches. The perspective view through the arches reveals the scale of the building and expresses the continuity of the space therein. These walls also define lateral bays for the display of some of the most valuable pieces in the museum's collection. The walls function as partitions, on which are hung cornices, capitals, mosaics, and fragments of statuary. These surfaces are not considered to be mere neutral supports for the objects; rather, the translucent white marble of the relics may be seen in a dialectical interplay with the material presence of the brick walls. Natural light, another fundamental concern in the museum's design, enters through skylights above and windows set high in the facades. The constantly changing intensity and color of the light contributes to the dialogue between the works of art and the building itself.

 

If you'd like to know more about this amazing Museum and some of its' priceless and awe-inspiring exhibits please take a look the text accompanying other pictures I've uploaded, they can be found - here -.

.

comments (17)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 14 Sep 2010, 00:27
A beautiful image, Ellie...masks are wonderful things.
EJWilkins: They are wonderful, not least because wearing a mask allows a person to change character.
  • vintage
  • Australia
  • 14 Sep 2010, 02:40
Good capture
EJWilkins: Thanks, not bad through glass.
I wonder how many Roman actors have worn that particular mask.

A very interesting bit of history accompanying this post, Ellie; thank you.
EJWilkins: It's a thought, isn't it. I'd like to think quite a few people wore it before it got broken and was discarded.
  • Scotia
  • United Kingdom
  • 14 Sep 2010, 06:24
Excellent Ellie Roman times is so interesting.
EJWilkins: If you're interested in Roman things then Mérida is a good place to visit, but you need more than two days there.
good composition and natural bnackground color
EJWilkins: Thank you
  • Chris
  • England
  • 14 Sep 2010, 07:22
Very interesting & informative Ellie. This could be myself in a previous incarnation...
EJWilkins: Mmm, now you come to mention it!
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 14 Sep 2010, 07:29
Nicely composed ellie
EJWilkins: Thanks
I think a lot of people in the real world wear a mask for some or a lot of each day.
EJWilkins: I think they do.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 14 Sep 2010, 09:47
This must be a wonderful Museum where I could stay for some hours! And I very appreciate your careful- detailed information and research! I suppose this is a masc for a tragic personage (our English/German/Dutch...word 'person' comes from Latin 'per-sona', for the voices of the 'dramatis personae' sound/sonare through/per these masks), it could be a Phrygian hat, but I'm not sure.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 14 Sep 2010, 09:54
Yes, it is a Phrygian cap; http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygische_M%C3%BCtze- a bit like the Belgian "Les Schtroumpfs" or the German "Schlümpfe" (I don't know if known in GB, too?)!
EJWilkins: Aha, yes, the Phrygian cap - made a bit famous by the people who watched the French guillotines. Hadn't really thought too much about its' earlier history.
Very nicely captured Ellie.
It's coming out well!
EJWilkins: Yes, I was pleased, especially as it was taken through glass
Interesting artifact, I wonder how wide the range of expressions were? The Romans were very clever.
EJWilkins: I haven't a clue, I'd never seen one of these before and I honestly don't know much about the Roman Theatre. They certainly were clever, and in amongst the population were some truly skilled artists and artisans,
Interesting read!!! Thanks for that.
THe mask reminds me of 'Kabouter Piggelmee'
EJWilkins: I had to look that up, never heard of him before.
Nicely presented Ellie, how fortunate all the pieces survived to be stuck together.
EJWilkins: I wonder if, perhaps, it had been broken and discarded in a rubbish pit - to be found by modern archaeologists. WOuldn't it be a treat to find something like this.
Did you see about the helmet/mask that's being sold by .. was it Sotheby's?
The originally Punch?
EJWilkins: Aha! Clever thought. Mr Punch certainly seems to be 'old', so maybe he has roots in Roman times. Who knows?
I think he could be a bit grumpy, nicely composed and good to read the information too smile
EJWilkins: Thanks, I think he could be too. smile
most unusual mask there, nicely caught

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