Gallo-Roman Restoration in Schieren Reveals Detailed Fresco

The Ministry of Culture has announced the latest in the Gallo-Roman fresco recomposition in Schieren, near colmar-Berg.

On Tuesday, a delegation led by H.R.H the Grand Duke and the Secretary of State for Culture, Guy Arendt, visited the Centre of Study of Roman Murals (CEPRM) in Soissons.

The CEPMR has been put in charge of the restoration of the remaining painted coatings and stuccos which were discovered on the Gallo-Roman archelogical site in Schieren on the border of the Route du Nord (B7). In 2015 over 15,000 fragments were found – in a 16m2 room with underfloor heating – which were then collected and packaged to be sent to Soissons to be cleaned and reassembled.

H.R.H. The Grand Duke and the Secretary of Culture for the State were joined by André Bauler, president of the Commission of Culture and the Chamber of Representatives as well as the representative Franz Fayot. This Luxembourgish delegation were received by local authorities and Sabine Groetembril, head of CEPMR.

During the visit of the centre and a tour of the restoration work, Secretary of State Arendt thanked the experts for their meticulous work, which testifies to a great expertise: “You allow us to discover part of the very rich patrimony which the Roman Empire has bequeathed to us. It is an important witness to our past that we must preserve and pass on to future generations.”

According to the experts’ report, the study of fragments discovered in Schieren revealed both the complexity of the ornamental programme and that of architecture. Over the course of one year, a careful and delicate work of consolidation, stabilisation and assembly was carried out and gradually made it possible to recompose portions of decoration from the four walls of the room; but it is also the particular composition of the ceiling that has appeared: on a ridge vault, the four seasons are represented in medallions, reflecting an important notion of the ancient rural world, life to the rhythm of the seasons.

The decoration of the walls presents a varied composition, divided into three zones, two of which are animated by figurative representations. An imposing stucco cornice made up of two friezes adorned with birds crowns the median zone and confirms the attention given to every detail of the decor of the room.

At the top, magnificent mythological scenes culminate in magnificent scenes: Omphale obliging Hercules to spin wool, Pensive Nymphs, Pegasus and various heroes. We observe here a great mastery of the technique of the fresco by talented craftsmen, and also a perfect match with the Roman culture of which each motif is inspired.

Such an abundant iconography raises, of course, the question of the function of this heated room, but also that of the status of the master of the house. This scenery can not be considered as a separate unit. It must be observed throughout the villa. The excavations to come will make it possible to better understand this area which already appears, through this setting, as exceptional.

From the outset, the importance of the villa is highlighted by these remarkable paintings, probably realised in the course of the 3rd century, which highlight the status of the owner, who probably belongs to the elite of the city of Treviri, capital of the Western Empire.