Renovating an old house is like treasure hunting, with all of the pitfalls, traps, and bugs along the way. And, about the same possibility of finding an actual treasure.
We just discovered something really odd here – a floor covering printed to look like a Persian rug.
A piece of cheap – uh, not plastic, but “something” artificial – designed to look like something expensive, but surely completely unable to fool anybody for more than 3/4 of a second.
Reminds me of an iTunes University course I took on Ancient Roman architecture. The Yale professor spent quite a few lectures on “Roman Wall Painting” – which at first I thought was completely silly.
To the left is an early version, called the “First Style” of Roman Wall Painting, and it imitates Greek walls, apparently. The Romans had a serious inferiority complex with regards to Greece ( kind of like the US has a complex relating to Europe ), and they were always trying to out-Greek their friends and neighbors. Even Caesars would steal marble columns and blocks from Greece to build up Rome’s own monuments.
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the artist has tried to make the various panels look like marble, oak, granite, and so on. The real materials, obviously, would be very expensive for the middle class Roman.
As the wall-painting became more sophisticated, I started to respect it quite a bit. Following the first style, three more increasingly sophisticated versions became popular. They are all obviously fake, yet I have to admit they’re more interesting than a flat wall, with perhaps a picture of Granny centered on it. It’s a kind of Roman kitsch that shows people are fundamentally the same now as they were then.
It should be noted that the vaunted “perspective” which is supposed to have started during the Renaissance, is clearly evident in ancient Rome. The proportions are pretty good, with angles and curves showing a clear knowledge of vanishing points, and so on.
A fake-of-a-fake floor covering is in the same spirit as the Romans’ faux marble and fake statues ( and fake courtyards, and fake entire-buildings, even fake weather systems ).
I remember going to “Caesar’s Palace” in Las Vegas, and having nothing but disdain for the obviously fake wall-paintings of pastures and fields and Roman ruins. I figured it was just 100% Las Vegas pretend. Glitzy but ultimately extremely superficial.
I wonder if the modern painters knew that? Or is this kind of dime-store knockoff, which Vegas is known for, is just an expression of certain genes?
What is even more shocking to me, is that this thing may have a value as an antique. I wonder if I can take this to Antiques Road Show?