Roman Garden Paintings: Measurements and Proportions

A self-developed system for the dimensioning and modeling of ancient garden paintings

For garden archaeologists, the paintings in the Villa of Livia have long been the subject of study in attempting to understand the layout of ancient Roman gardens. In order to further this understanding, I developed a proportioning system that allows the estimated size of a single object to be extrapolated to determine the height, width, depth, and relative distance of all other objects in the painting. Once calculated, these measurements may be used to construct a 3D model of the garden.

Validation of the system came a year after writing the paper below, when a leading garden archaeologist confirmed that the calculated height of the wall depicted in the Villa of Livia was determined to be more accurate than previous archaeological estimates.

A full description of the system is contained in the paper below.

Kevin Gill Roman Paintings

Note that the system may be used without permission for research purposes only. Permission is required prior to publishing any portion of the paper or methodology. 

Garden painting in the Villa of Livia, Primaporta, Italy

2D and 3D dimensioning tools overlayed on painting. See pdf for description of the methodology.

A basic 3D model using heights, widths, distances, and depths extracted from the painting.