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Consuelo Manetta


Current position: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (Research Fellow), Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter, UK

During her AIAS Cofund Junior Fellowship, Consuelo Manetta worked on the project "The Different Faces of the Sky - decorative culture, floral, astral and mythological representations within figural coffered ceilings".

Project at AIAS

The research regards the analysis of ancient covering systems in Greek and Roman areas of the ancient world between the Late Archaic (500 BC) and the Late Antique periods (Fourth - Fifth century AD), and with specific reference to sculptured and/or painted figural coffered ceilings.

The study aims to reconstruct the decorative evolution of this specific type of architectural decoration during the long period of its use. Among its chief objectives, the project intend offer an iconographic and iconological reading of the decorative and figurative repertoire within the lacunars. Fundamentally, several figurative themes (with particular reference to prosopa, busts, and mythological representations) sculpted and/or painted within the coffers have not been identified up to now. Also the traditionally accepted interpretation as exclusively decorative purposes of the floral ornaments, which are constantly represented within coffered ceilings it require more deeply and new re-examination. None of the existing studies has ever ventured to reconstruct – in iconographic and iconological key – the decorative and figurative repertoire depicted in ceilings. Furthermore, none has tried to follow the dynamics and developments of this repertoire. It lacks, also, any attempt to link specific figurative themes and cycles to a specific function of some buildings (i.e. sacral or funeral contexts).

Nevertheless, the topic offers very interesting research perspectives in view of: reconstructing a repertoire of decorative and figurative motives within coffered ceilings; decoding their meaning, with special reference to the sculpted and/or painted prosopa, their problematic identification, their relationship with decorative (such as floral and geometrical) and figurative (such as mythological) motives previously and/or contemporary attested; the role effectively played by Pausias regarding coffered ceilings’ decoration; the eventual relationship between the function of a building and its ceiling’s decoration; recognizing, defining and understanding the role played by astral representations (especially with prosopa) among the possible decorative motives sculpted or painted in the frame of ceilings. 

Project title:

The Different Faces of the Sky - decorative culture, floral, astral and mythological representations within figural coffered ceilings

Area of research:

Philology, Litterature, Art and Ancient Sciences

Fellowship period:

1 Oct 2014 – 30 Sep 2017 

Fellowship type

AIAS-COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow

This fellowship has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 609033 and The Aarhus University Research Foundation.