Portrait of Terentius Neo

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The Portrait of Terentius Neo

The Portrait of Terentius Neo is a famous, unique and exquisite fresco that was found in Pompeii in the House of Terentius Neo in Reg 7, Ins 2, 6.[1] It is currently preserved at the Naples National Archaeological Museum.

It is considered one of the finest pieces of art from the area of Vesuvius.[2]

It was sometimes erroneously called the portrait of Paquius Proculus as the result of some confusion because the fresco was not found in the House of Paquius Proculus which is in Reg I, Ins 7, 1.[3]

An inscription was found on the outside of the house was an election recommendation for Terentius Neo.

The fresco depicts a pair of middle-class Pompeians believed to be man and wife. Terentius Neo was a baker as the house had been modified to include a bakery, and the portrait shows the couple as equal members of a confident and fashionable mercantile class. The man wears a toga, the mark of a Roman citizen, and holds a rotulus, suggesting he is also involved in local public and/or cultural events. The woman is in the foreground and holds a stylus and wax tablet, emphasising that she is of equal status, educated and literate.[4]

The fact that the portrait shows imperfections or peculiarities in the faces is rare in similar frescoes and brings to life the characters.


  1. ^ https://www.pompeiiinpictures.com/pompeiiinpictures/R7/7%2002%2006.htm
  2. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times.
  3. ^ "House of Paquius Proculus - AD79eruption". sites.google.com.
  4. ^ Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans: Visual Representation and Non-Elite Viewers in Italy, 100 B.C.-A.D. 315, John R Clarke, 2003 p. 261 ISBN 9780520248151

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