Rus Articles Journal

Alma - Tadema sir Lawrence, “The vintage Festival“. And who such Markus Holkonius?

Artist Alma - Tadema carefully studied excavation of Pompeii and tried to recreate the life proceeding there once. His picture “The vintage Festival“ bears in itself several riddles: who these people what procession where they go that the inscription in a picture means is?

The marble platform on which procession led by the girl bearing a torch moves from left to right. Behind it - three flutists, then - the girl with a tambourine, behind it - two bearded men decorated with wreaths bear long vessels. Also the girl with a wreath from a grapevine and with a flexible basket in which grapes brushes are visible brings up this small rear.

On a background - the court yard framed with a colonnade, crowd of the people with tambourines. Probably, all of them have to pass under columns and to leave there where now “advance party“. At the left some statue, near it the woman is visible. It stretched hands to the sky in a prayer.

Procession lasts long: flutists on the heads have an intricate harness, something like a bandage or a bridle (if it is possible to call it so) which holds flutes and reduces load of hands. At girls absolutely gloomy look, probably, they were tired. Most likely, this procession passed across all city, convoking public. Where procession goes?

Perhaps, it is the road to some temple. Most likely - to Apollo`s temple: ahead - an altar with a fried bull (it at the left, behind a picture sawn-off shotgun), on a small altar the incense and laurels are already smoked, draft music of flutes and a roar of tambourines sounds, and the plentiful libation of wine in honor of celebration of vintage and a feast with gifts of the goddess of fertility of Ceres is necessary.

Any in that hail as the tsar - people as the priest - Apollo

Observed blagochestno. Guests and in the temple it accepted also houses.

he to them showed round the City also shrines - dedication gifts:

................... ......................................................................

An incense in fire having put also wines of a vozliyavsha on an incense,

In the victim of zaklanny bulls, on custom, having fried meat,

Enter they the palace. Having leaned against carpets high,

Began to accept Ceres gifts with the streaming Bacchus.


(Ovidy, Metamorphoses, chapter 10, 632 - 639)

At thought that procession goes to Apollo`s temple is directed by an inscription on a floor, at the left on the procession course: “HOLCONIUS M(arcus)“. What would it mean? During excavation of Pompeii Markus Holkonius`s statue was found, the house was opened him. Besides, when dug out an amphitheater of Pompeii, it turned out that on one of places this name is beaten out.

Historians found out who such Markus Holkonius. It appears, it was almost the father of the city. He owned clay pits, made a brick for buildings of Pompeii (quite perhaps that not only Pompeii). It had vineyards, it made wine and supplied with it Rome. Its wealth allowed it to offer on a reorganization of the temple of Apollo (in the 62nd year AD one of walls of the temple was strongly damaged during an earthquake), on construction of an amphitheater.

His merits in reconstruction of the temple of Apollo are cut on an external wall of the temple, besides, also positions which he held are listed. It stood high in esteem in the city, he was elected several times in the Supreme management. The respect for it was, one may say, immense: at the intersection of the main streets of Pompeii its statue was established. And not just its sculptural image: flatterers dressed it in an armor which it never carried because never was in army. One more detail - put on senator`s sandals it though it it was not.

Alma - Tadema carefully studied excavation of Pompeii and tried to recreate the life proceeding there once. As for wine jugs - they are written almost off from the remained Pompey. Difficultly to tell something certain about bridles of flutists: possibly, on some frescos this image met. However it is impossible to doubt conscientiousness of the artist, he is truthful to microscopic trifles.

Tambourines rattle, flutes peep, the crowd exults, ahead - a sacrificial meal with meat and wine...

Note: the name of the picture “The vintage Festival“ can be translated doubly - “An ancient holiday“ or “A vintage holiday“.