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The Iconography of Three Mosaics from Salona

Jagoda Medar ; Uprava za zaštitu kulturne i prirodne baštine

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (25 MB) str. 5-11 preuzimanja: 163* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Medar, J. (1996). O ikonografiji solinskih mozaika. Peristil, 39 (1), 5-11. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Medar, Jagoda. "O ikonografiji solinskih mozaika." Peristil, vol. 39, br. 1, 1996, str. 5-11. Citirano 16.04.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Medar, Jagoda. "O ikonografiji solinskih mozaika." Peristil 39, br. 1 (1996): 5-11.
Medar, J. (1996). 'O ikonografiji solinskih mozaika', Peristil, 39(1), str. 5-11. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 16.04.2021.)
Medar J. O ikonografiji solinskih mozaika. Peristil [Internet]. 1996 [pristupljeno 16.04.2021.];39(1):5-11. Dostupno na:
J. Medar, "O ikonografiji solinskih mozaika", Peristil, vol.39, br. 1, str. 5-11, 1996. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 16.04.2021.]

Among the stone monuments from Classical Salona in the collection of the Split Archaeological Museum there are three large figural mosaics known to the Croatian and partially to the foreign scholars. In the literature they are known as mosaics showing Triton, Apollo and Orpheus.
The first mosaic shows a male torso, whose hair is composed of whiplik tendriles of a medusa or polyp. A horn emerges from the forehead, caried out in red tessarea and crab's claws stick out of his untidy hair on the left and right sides of his head. Crab's claws and the horn on his head are attributes of Titan Oceanus. the oldest son of Uranus and Gaea, gods of the seas and rivers whose visual presentations have their origin in Hellenistic-Roman art, and are especially common in rnosaics of the third century. Depictions of Oceanus are known from mosaics in Munsingen, Bad Kreuznach, Avenches, Vienne, Lyon, Classical Themetra, Ultique, Carranque and other places. He is mostly shown as an old man with a beard, but out character is closest t the young Oceanus with thick hai and a lively expression as in the mosaic in Munsingen. V von Gonzenbach, who dates this mosaic somewhere between the year 175 and 200, supports the view that the crab's claws on the head are always the attribute of Occanus. The bull's horn, sticking out of the forehead of the figure of the Salona mosaic, is another of Oceanus's attributes.
1) The mosaic of Orpheus shows many analogies as well as special features compared to contemporary examples. The composition scheme, with a central medallien surrounded by four semi-circles and segments of circles in the corners of a rectangle, is common in mosaics from the second and third century. In Croatia it is found at three localities. During the first and second centuries Orpheus is shown in a landscape surrounded by numerous animals, as in mosaics in Italy and Africa. From the end of the second and during the third century the scene and the number of characters was reduced. The natural environment and animals are stylized and are persuing each other. In general, the scene is dramatic. According to some authors there are two sources of these different iconographic interpretations of Orpheus. One originates from the Latin West, while the other represents a 'mannerist' group formed according to the tradition of the Greek East. Although the Solin mosaic has many characteristics of the "mannerist" group, to which examples from Paphos, Cos, Sparta, Newton St. Loe and Wittington in England belong, the scene in our mosaic is natural, and the character has qualities of a portrait. The seated figure with his lyre leaning against his knee and a hand brushing over the strings is far from the usual stylized, decorative images of Orpheus with his body in semi-profile and head turned towards the viewer, as in the mosaic in Panik. The clothing with soft folds is formed without graphic effects, using lines of dark tessarea, - typical of late Classical art. The Solin mosaic is between the first and second ("mannerist") group of mosaics showing Orpheus from the third and fourth century. The tradition of earlier mosaics is to coney a Classical feeling for a natural scene, and the later ones are stylized and have lost the feeling for dimension and space. In composition it has similarities with the Cos mosaic, and in reduction of the number of figures to the Newton St. Loe Orpheus from Yvonand in Switzerland (dated between 200 and 225) and from Trier because Orpheus does not wear a Frigian cap, which is usually his essential attribute. Closest to this mosaic is the one from Rottweil, which, according to Parlasca, dates
from the end of the second century.
III. The mosaic showing Apollo dates from the same period as the previous two because of its central composition, large number of borders and the interpretation of the figure in the central medallion. Stylizing and decorative elements can be seen in the treatment of the border characters, while the central figure of Apollo, treated in an almost impressionist manner, has kept its harmony and classical beauty.
lf we try o guess the purpose of the areas in which these mosaics were placed, we think first of spas, frigidariums of nyphaenms, which would probably have been part of a governor`s palace. The three mythical figures are connected by the notion of water (sea). Triton (Occanus) is in his natural environment, Orpheus, the divine musician tames nature and leads the animals to spring, and the third figure Apollo, the protector of sailors and the follower of nymphs (godesses of springs) also fits into this combination. Explaining the purpose of certain arcas according to decoration is one of the "helping" methods in the history of art. lt is common and very often successful when it comes to mosaics.

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