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Roman Mosaics

Online Lecture: “The Perplexing Voyage of the San Antonio Marine Mosaic: Ostia Antica Travels to San Antonio” with John Clarke

Nov 30, 6:00 PM–7:00 PM

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Ticket Price: $10 for non-members

Ticket Price Members: $5 for members


In 1964 Gilbert Denman purchased a duly-authenticated black-and-white mosaic said to be from the environs of Ostia Antica for his fine collection of Greek and Roman art. In this lecture Prof. John R. Clarke, a specialist on Roman mosaics, will present evidence that the mosaic is a fake, created by copying and reversing the orientation of figures from two mosaics at the famous archaeological site itself. He will share the details of his research on this forgery and the art dealer who sold it to Mr. Denman. This will be a story without a conclusion since the research is still ongoing. 
Professor Clarke has taught at the University of Texas at Austin since 1980. He has published extensively on ancient Roman art and culture, and since 2005 has directed the Oplontis Project (, a multidisciplinary study of two villas near Pompeii. In 2017 the Archaeological Institute of America awarded him its Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Archaeology.

Modern copy of a mosaic depicting a Nereid, in the Baths of the Seven Sages, Ostia 20th century, 41 15/16 x 80 7/8 in. (106.5 x 205.5 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, gift of Gilbert M. Denman, Jr. 91.80.92

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