A bowl with apples

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from a villa in Pompei

Author: Unknown
Technique: wall painting
Theme: still life, bowl with fruit

The fourth Pompeian style is called also of perspective. This is stated in the age of Nero and is distinguished from others by the inclusion of fantastic architecture and great scenery effects.
The proposed detail, respecting the fourth style, is characterized by a revival of decorative elements and formulas previously tested as imitations of marble facing, the fake architecture and trompe-l’oeil (characteristic of the second style).
The vase of apples is placed above a lintel, illusory painting on the wall, and has a decorative purpose. The clear glass container, placed on a small pedestal, allows a glimpse of the fruit inside.
Glass containers are very similar to those used today and were considered ideal because they were washable, recyclable and odorless. The shape is that of common household containers, fairly rounded with two side handles for comfortable serving.
The colors used in the painting are those typical of the Roman frescoes, more yellow in the background, but also in the fruit, and red, the most commonly used color in the frescoes of the Roman Empire. Originally, given the high cost of production, red was used sparingly, but then, as can be seen from the example chosen, it was used to cover entire walls with the primary purpose of showing off the wealth of the owners of the villas.

Where it is kept
The so-called “Villa of Poppea” is perhaps the largest and most luxurious of the suburban villas so far brought to light. Presumably belonging to Nero’s wife because of the inscription “Secundo Poppaeae” (sent to Secundus, freedman of Poppaea) on an amphora found there, it lay beneath a good six metres of the usual layers of lapilli and ashes and then a thick layer of mud from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The architectural complex extended for over 60 metres West-East and more than 50 metres North-South. The structure of the villa, typically aristocratic, is very complex and has about 90 rooms including a huge Tuscan style atrium, numerous gardens, lounges, corridors between the rooms, an indoor spa area, the triclinium communicating with the kitchen, rest rooms, separate bathrooms for men and women, servile environments, a peristyle (portico) with a fountain, a huge pool of 70 meters overlooked by state rooms alternating with small open-air viridaria, decorated in IV style with paintings that probably merged with plants. Of particular interest are the refined and sumptuous painted decorations scattered throughout the villa.
The most significant frescoes are those of the Atrium of Tuscan type, the still lifes in the East side and those of the West lounge that offers an extraordinary vision of an Apollo sanctuary.

Our artistic choice
In this still life painting, we were mainly impressed by the round shape of the fruits and their greenish color. We thought of presenting a basket with stuffed olives as a typical product of our territory (PDO, Protected Denomination of Origin).
Moreover olives were extremely appreciated and usual on Roman tables . The Romans used to come to the Piceno area to gather green olives prized for their sweetness .

Basket of crispy Ascolana stuffed olives and citrus sauce

Serves 4
Green olives 400 g,
pork meat 150 g,
second choice beef 150 g,
turkey breast 150 g,
celery 70 g,
carrots 70 g,
onion 70 g,
white wine 1 dL.
Parmesan cheese 50 g,
lemon 100 g ,
eggs 6,
flour 100 g,
breadcrumbs 200 g,
nutmeg, salt, pepper,
milk 2 dL,
lime 70 g,
oranges 10 g,
Extra Virgin olive oil 1 dL,
peanut seed oil 1 L.

Pit the olives and dip them in the water and little lemon juice. Brown the minced beef and ground spices in oil, add the wine and cook with a little broth.
After that join the other meats, season with salt and pepper. Grind the meat several times, add one egg, nutmeg and Parmesan.
Fill the olives with the mixture and coat them with flour. Then pass them into beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil.
Prepare a few crepes, shape them into baskets and dry them in hot oven. Fill them with the fried olives and garnish with an emulsion of extra virgin olive oil and citrus fruit juice.

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