A mosaic representing summer dated to the end of the 3rd century AD will be shown to the public for the first time, only online, by the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
The mosaic depicts a figure in bust. It has long brown hair and turns the head slightly to its left shoulder. A himation leaves the right shoulder bare, while a sheaf of wheat can be seen behind the head. The pebbles used are in their original colors and provide the figure with a brown-gold skin tone, reflecting summer.
The work of art is one of several decorating the floor of a Roman-era house, possibly in Thessaloniki itself – that were discovered and removed during excavations in the 1930s. They include mosaics of Oceanus and Thalassa, or the ocean and the sea, both of which have been exhibited in the past, and mosaic panels of two more seasons.
Winter’s figure includes more grays and whites, and Spring/Fall (it is unclear which season the latter represents) includes a greater variety of colors. These two are on view in the permanent exhibit “Thessaloniki, metropolis of Macedonia”, reopened to the public as of May 12 following the lifting of coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
“Many figures that depict seasons and are done in several techniques do not clearly show whether they are male or female,” Museum archaeologist Eleonora Melliou explains to Athens-Macedonian News Agency. Such figures stand for the season’s particular characteristics, in this case rich crops represented by the wheat sheaf.
As she notes, “We wanted to share an image of the summer, for the season. This is one of many mosaics and other objects in storage.”
“Summer” can be seen at the following link, https://www.amth.gr/exhibitions/exhibit-of-the-month/2106, while the Museum’s English-language pages can be accessed at https://www.amth.gr/en.