Sunday, February 15, 2009

Campania For A Day

I enjoyed my whole Birthday Weekend, including the Resident Associates seminar on Saturday, entitled Ancient Pompeii: Modern Views. It was organized in conjunction with the delightful show at the National Gallery of Art: Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples. (The first and the last speakers possessed very similar, very droning, very affected, very professorial delivery styles. Made you want to scream. Turns out they are married. Wouldn't you know!)

The third speaker, Professor Christopher Gregg, from GM had the most interesting section, about the pleasures and entertainments common in ancient Pompeii. I am thinking of trying to find a cookbook of ancient Roman recipes and try some of their fish dishes. Wonder what they will be! We also heard about Pompeii's Spectacula (or amphitheater), the venationes held there, and the Lupanar.

In any event, I made this sketch of Mt. Vesuvius and then the little map of il Golfo di Napoli below it, during the final speaker's section. I added gouache washes at home today. I like the way the summit caldera is rendered. Not exactly 'to scale' obviously, but it looks cool. Or, ummm, hot. . . . One of the speakers was asked about plans to excavate the 'Unexcavated' portions of Pompeii. His answer was kind of scary; he said that the heartily agreed with the policy currently in place to leave these areas unexcavated permanently. He said that these areas are well buried and that they will survive when the next pyroclastic event occurs at Pompeii. These buried areas will survive when everything that is exposed right now is destroyed. Not "if", but "when". When the next eruption occurs. Gave one the shivers.

This is 'The Forum at Pompeii with Vesuvius in the Background' by Christen Schjellerup Købke painted in 1841, now at the Getty in LA. The Getty Villa having been modeled on the Villa dei Papyri, in Ercolano.

Here is another lovely view of Vesuvius, from the beach of Naples, entitled 'Am Strand von Neapel' painted by Oswald Achenbach, probably around 1885.

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