The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, May 26, 2018

British Museum presents a major exhibition on the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum
An employee poses next to a 'Second Style fresco fragment' during the press preview for the 'Life and Death Pompeii and Herculaneum' exhibition at the British Museum in central London on March 26, 2013. Pompeii and Herculaneum were both devestated when the eruption of Vesuvius buried the towns in ash and pumice leaving many victims in situ. Preserved frescoes reveal details about 1st century Roman culture. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT.

By: Alice Ritchie

LONDON.- Fleeing from a burning, volcanic cloud, the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum had little time to pack, snatching a lamp, some cash or the house key as they tried to run to safety.

But the owners of the objects never made it, the key never used again, as they perished in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79, the subject of a major new exhibition at the British Museum in London.

Although the disaster has been exhaustively examined, "Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum" seeks to shed fresh light on the daily lives of those killed that day.

It brings together objects from both destroyed cities which display a startling similarity to those we use today, from the colander and bakeware in the kitchen to dice used in games.

One of the most evocative images is a crib which was burned to charcoal when volcanic material measuring 400 degrees Celsius swept through Herculaneum. The infant in it was incinerated.

"The Romans had rooms in homes filled with things just like we have. They had a consumer lifestyle, they liked nice things," curator Paul Roberts told AFP.

"It's really a way of bringing the Romans closer to us. They're not just 'I, Claudius', they're not gladiators -- they're us."

Visitors to the exhibition are taken through rooms in a Roman house, decorated with frescos including one embellished with graffiti animals, likely the work of younger members of the family.

There are countless examples of everyday life, from furniture to jewellery and sculptures, as well as erotic art that would have been displayed with little embarrassment.

But this image of two bustling cities -- Pompeii the industrial hub of the region and Herculaneum a smaller seaside city -- is brought to a abrupt and brutal halt, just as they were.

At the end of the exhibition are casts of a man who died as he crouched down behind a wall desperately seeking protection, and of a family flung back in agony by waves of ash and volcanic rock in Pompeii.

Such was the heat that hit Herculaneum that most people were incinerated immediately, but in Pompeii it was slightly cooler, allowing lava to harden around the bodies of the dead.

In the 18th century, archaeologists discovered the voids where these bodies had been and filled them with plaster, creating casts that show in gruesome detail how the people died.

Many strike 'the boxer pose', their arms held up as if to throw a punch. It is caused by the heat which contracts the tendons.

After half an hour examining the lives of ordinary Romans at the museum, this graphic evidence of one family's demise is shocking.

The mother is holding her toddler child on her lap as she falls back against the wave of heat, her husband next to her, his body contorted. Another child lies lifeless on the floor nearby.

"People didn't see it coming," said Vanessa Baldwin, assistant curator of the exhibition. "They were living their daily lives when it hit."

"Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum" runs from March 28 to September 29 at the British Museum.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

March 29, 2013

British Museum presents a major exhibition on the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum

Seeing inside a 100-million-year-old pterosaur skull at London's Natural History Museum

Jewish art critic's heir settles on painting by Joachim Ringelnatz lost in Nazi era

Dallas Museum of Art announces new $17 million Marguerite and Robert Hoffman Fund for European Art

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal renews its strategic vision; Director steps down

Christie's Private Sales presents the selling exhibition of "Other Graces: Photographs by Sante D'Orazio

Exhibition of new and classic photographs by Daido Moriyama opens at Steven Kasher Gallery

Swann Galleries announces Fine Photographs & Photobooks Auction on April 18

Sotheby's to offer the largest and most important William Faulkner archive ever to appear at auction

Roni Horn's explorations into the effect of multiplicity on perception at Hauser & Wirth

New and returning dealers present a wonderful array of art and antiques at Art Antiques London

Fundació Joan Miró presents Insomnia, an exhibition about film as a material for contemporary art

Valencian Institute for Modern Art announces Bernar Venet receives the Julio Gonzalez International Prize

Record-breaking prints by leading Australian artist for sale at Bonhams

Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University receives $1 million endowment gift

The Museum at Bethel Woods to re-open Saturday, April 6

Historic, rare Canadian 'Dot Cent' Penny expected to bring $250,000+ at Heritage Auctions

Exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Gregg Louis opens at Nohra Haime Gallery

A major new online art project inspired by Kurt Schwitters launching on 1 April

Michael Atwood Mason named Director of the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful