It’s a bit hors concours but I’ve done some nice set painting again, and the historical series that it was done for has now aired. Het verhaal van Nederland (The Story of the Netherlands) created by the Dutch public broadcaster (yay!) aired early in 2022 and really surprised everyone with it’s beautiful camera work, deliberate moods and subtle storytelling.

Set work is not my usual business anymore, but the subject, a Roman fresco, tickled my history bone and having by chance a scheduling window and a very enthusiastic student-assistant at my disposal from the film academy, it seemed a shame to turn it down, at least from the pedagogical point of view. 

The point of departure for the set is a group of original fresco fragments found among the archeological remains of a Roman villa in Limburg (pic 4). We didn’t have the resources to create an exact version of the artifact, so we tried to capture it at least in spirit. We also had to conjecture as to the original context and what kind of decorations a late empire villa in “Gallia Belgica” might have had. Unfortunately most of the inspiration for Roman painting is from southern Italy dating before AD 79, the eruption of Vesuvius and is very rich and cosmopolitan, whereas we tried a little bit to imagine what it would have looked like in the provinces. And who was this – probably itinerant – artist who created this delicate sensitive face?