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Homo Faber

Original artefact
  8.2 Fresco with the distribution of bread


Painted plaster; 58 x 49 cm
Naples, MAN; inv. 9071
Pompeii, R.VII,3.30 (from the tablinum)
Second half of the first century AD

The painting, originally located in the tablinum (a room open on two sides, usually located behind the atrium of a Roman house and often with a mosaic floor and frescoed walls) of a small house, depicts a counter on which are placed a great number of loaves of bread in various shapes, piled up on top of each other, while in a basket to the left are smaller loaves of bread; a male figure, wearing a white tunic, offers a loaf of bread to one of three people - all in short travelling clothes - who are in front of him. The scene, variously interpreted (the sale of bread, the private donation of bread by a magistrate, a baker who, elected to hold public office, wants to be remembered in his own house in the exercising of his official duties), is in any event interesting because it permits the close association of types of bread depicted with those actually found at Pompeii.
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