The Unknown Catacomb: A Unique Discovery of Early Christian Art by Antonio Ferrua
Introduction by Bruno Nardini
folio. pp. 180. colour & b/w illustrations. bibliography. glossary. index. hardcover. dw. (near fine - some scuffing & light stains to spine & back cover)). New Lanark, Scotland: Geddes & Grosset, .
During the course of excavation work on the foundations of a new building in 1955, a unique discovery of early Christian art was made in the heart of Rome. Below the city's bustling Via Latina was found to be a catacomb system containing a unique and previously unknown collection of paintings and decoration.
This book tells the story of the discovery of the Via Latina catacomb and of the research and preservation work carried out to conserve it and its invaluable contents. Even more importantly, the book describes in full in words and over 150 colour pictures the paintings and decoration in the catacomb, with information on the themes that they illustrate from both the Old and New Testaments, including Daniel in the Lion's den and Christ among the apostles, as well as from pagan mythology, as in Hercules stealing the golden apples of the Hesperides.
The author, Antonio Ferrua, not only took part in the excavation of the Via Latina catacomb, but as an archaeologist and art historian has brought to bear his wide expertise in his account of this unique fourth-century art gallery. To protect the catacomb and its treasures from twentieth-century pollution, general entry to it is restricted, making this fascinating book not only the definitive work on the catacomb but also the best access to it and its invaluable contents.