In the not-so-recent past, when someone wanted to buy art, they had to walk into a gallery in a major city. Just as developing conceptions of ancestry provide important background for understanding the monastic programs, the development for the elite of architectural forms that accommodated ritual household devotion and decoration that depicted (actual and ideal) ancestors also enhances our understanding of the setting of the later programs. In early imperial elite houses, the tablinum, typically located on the side of the atrium facing the entrance, was a focal point of the household as the office, reception room, and location of a household shrine. The nexus of atrium and tablinum was where current household business and family history were concentrated: ancestor portraits were kept in this area, where they oversaw family celebrations and rites of passage, and inspired the young to emulate them; and this was where important household documents were … Read the rest