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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2021

The Intermediality of Landscape in the Decorum of Roman Villas

Mantha Zarmakoupi

Abstract

This paper analyses intermedial relationships between different systems of representation of landscape to tackle the role of medium in the principle of decor/decorum. I focus on representations of nature in wall paintings as well as framed views of nature within and beyond villas together with contemporary literary ekphraseis in order to shed light on the interconnectedness between representations and views of nature in Roman decorative contexts. I argue that the paratactic placement of intermedial landscape representations was an appropriate design strategy in villa architecture and decoration that fabricated a mise en abyme effect in the villas’ spaces. These landscape representations and designs, together with contemporary literary ekphraseis, point to the cultural processes by which Romans articulated their notions of landscape. The intermedial representations of landscape and their paratactic arrangement were appropriate design strategies in Roman villa decoration.

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