Tag Archives: modern art

The Unswept Floor, or, of vestiges and precursors

Earlier this summer, I leafed through Medieval Modern: Art out of Time, which finds precursors of modern art in medieval art.

Apparently vestiges of modern art can be found in ancient art too.

Illustration: The Unswept Floor (detail)

Illustration: The Unswept Floor(detail)

Today, I discovered The Unswept Floor by a certain Herakleitos, a copy of The Unswept Floor 2nd-century BC original mosaic by Sosus of Pergamon described by Pliny in his Natural History (XXXVI, 184):

“[Sosos] laid at Pergamon what is called the asarotos oikos or ‘unswept room,’ because on the pavement was represented the debris of a meal, and those things which are normally swept away, as if they had been left there, made of small tessera of many colours.”

Making a mosaic floor with leftovers of food discarded from the table. How ‘modern’ is that?

I am reminded of Eaten by Marcel Duchamp, one of the snare pictures by Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri, ‘depicting’ the remains of a meal eaten by Marcel Duchamp.