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A great exhibition project to recount the fascination that the archaeological site of Pompeii held for artists and the European imagination, from the start of excavations in 1748 to its dramatic bombing in 1943.
Pompeii and Europe. 1748–1943, the exhibition devised by the Superintendent for Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae Massimo Osanna, unfolds along a twofold route, at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and simultaneously at the Amphitheater in Pompeii.
A temporary 12-metre wooden pyramid will house exhibition on Pompeii.
Inside are the casts of 20 victims buried by ash during the 79AD eruption
The installation was designed by renowned Italian architect Francesco Venezia.
The shape is said to be a tribute to the temple of the Egyptian goddess Isis, one of the first to be discovered by archaeologists in town
The plaster casts are placed in the centre, while the exhibition also features archival photographs documenting the work in the excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Excavations of Pompeii – Amphitheater
Open daily, 9:00 →19.00
until October 31, 2015
last admission at 6 pm
1st and 2nd November
last admission at 15.30
The plaster casts of Pompeii will be transferred to the restoration laboratory of the Superintendence Department in order to be studied with X ray investigations and scanner reconstruction.
The restoration of the Vesuvian ancient inhabitants is provided for the Great Pompeii Project and more than twenty of them will be on view at the exhibition “Pompeii and Europe. 1748-1943” planned on May 27th in the Amphitheater in Pompeii.
This great exhibition project will collect testimonies from the first excavation in 1748 to the dramatic bombing of 1943.
How and Why They Were Created
Giuseppe Fiorelli (1823 – 1896 Naples) was an Italian archaeologist.
He was director of the excavations of Pompeii after the unification of Italy. He conducted excavations in a systematic and scientific rigor, reorganized the archaeological area in regiones (quarters) and insulae (blocks).
It is due to his intuition the possibility of obtaining plaster casts of the victims of the eruption.
The Giuseppe Fiorelli’s technique consists in pour liquid plaster into the vacuum left in the ash when the bodies had decomposed to recreate the figures at the moment of their death.
At the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 the Roman fleet under the command of Pliny the Elder was stationed across the Bay of Naples at Misenum.
Pliny was a scientist, a historian and a naturalist and he felt the need to get closer to observe the phenomenon of the eruption.
He decided to land in Stabia, where lived his friend, but he died because of the toxic gases.
Pliny’s nephew, whom we know as Pliny the Younger, was with him at Misenum, but did not venture out on the ships with his uncle. He stayed back at Misenum and observed the events from there. He also received first-hand reports from those who had been with his uncle at his death. Based on this information Pliny the Younger wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus that recount the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius and the death of Pliny the Elder.
The letters survive and provide a vivid account of the events.
The majority of the inhabitants of Pompeii died because of poisonous gases from the Mount Vesuvius. Their corpses were entirely buried by hot ashes raining from the sky. In 1870 the archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli used a technique based on filling the cavities generated where the corpses had decomposed with liquid plaster, in order to produce casts of the victims. Once the plaster had hardened, the surrounding soil was removed and the cast was brought to light. In Pompeii this technique was used to produce a number of molds of human bodies, animals and objects. Particularly interesting are the casts of the so called Field of the Fugitives, the entire family of the Casa del Bracciale d’oro, and the one of a man found in the Casa del Criptoportico on which are still visible the shoes he wore with the iron studs. On exhibition at the Antiquarium of Boscoreale is also the cast in epoxy resin made in 1984 on one of the victims found in the Villa of Lucius Crassius Tertius at Oplontis; this transparent cast allowed to spot jewels and coins possessed by the victim.