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The Roses of Heliogabalus

The Roses of Heliogabalus is a famous painting of 1888 by the Anglo-Dutch academician Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema at present in private hands and based on a probably invented episode in the life of the Roman emperor Heliogabalus (204-222). Heliogabalus is portrayed attempted to smother unsuspecting guests at one of his feasts in rose-petals released from false ceiling panels. The canvas measures 52" by 84 1/8", which may, like ratios within the painting itself, be intended to encode the golden mean. (52" / 84 1/8" = 0.618127..., and the golden mean = 0.618033...)

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