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Pompeii Frescoes Go Back on View at Naples Museum After Ten Year Restoration
There are 400 frescoes in total, exceptionally conserved by the ashes from Mount Vesuvius which wiped out the city in 79 AD. Photo: EFE.

NAPLES.- The frescoes from the City of Pompeii will again go on view starting tomorrow in Naples with their original splendor after a restoration process that has lasted more than 10 years and that has not allowed the public to see what might as well be the best collection of Roman painting. There are 400 frescoes in total, exceptionally conserved by the ashes from Mount Vesuvius which wiped out the city in 79 AD. The frescoes will now be on view at the Naples National Archaeological Museum.

The frescoes, on which archaeologist August Mau based his subdivision of styles of mural painting in Rome , were torn out of Roman houses in the 18th and 19th centuries and were taken to the museum. Now they have been placed in a new order, based on chronological as well as in the recreation of the atmosphere and their original order in houses in Pompeii with halls dedicated to the House of Meleagro and Villa Boscoreale, among others.

"Antique colors and never before seen details” have been brought back to life thanks to the cleaning and restoration of the works of art, which have allowed experts to gain deeper knowledge of artistic currents, genre and techniques of Roman painting. The collection contains some of the most important works of art from several styles of antique Roman painting, just as Mau divided them, except for the first style (150- 80 B.C.), whose paintings were not torn because they were not figurative.

The second style, also named architectonic painting, has its best examples at Villa Boscoreale, were princes, philosophers and personifications of gods are profiled over a red background, the typical color of this city. The hall dedicated to the third style, has a series of decorative styles and large sized paintings where the landscape is featured more than the human body.

Finally, the fourth style (60-80 A.D.), the one that is most present in the city, has such great examples such as House of Meleagro and the House of Mars reconstructed from the painted murals.

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April 29, 2009

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