Monday, October 3, 2011

Newspaper article: Pompeii villa opens in Paris, but Roman ruins remain at risk in Italy

An article in The Guardian about the new exhibition in Paris:
Pompeii villa opens in Paris, but Roman ruins remain at risk in Italy

More than 200 artefacts loaned to Musée Maillol in Franco-Italian joint effort to highlight plight of Unesco heritage site.

An appliance that heats or cools drinks, using either coal or snow, a boiler that warms bathwater and an underfloor heating system: these may sound like inventions for the modern dwelling – but the Romans got there first.

While some 2,000 years separate us from Roman civilisation, a recreated 1st-century Roman villa from Pompeii has these technological innovations, and more, as well as sophisticated art.

More than 200 treasures and artefacts are on loan to the Musée Maillol in Paris in a Franco-Italian collaboration that highlights the risk to the future of Pompeii and Herculaneum. A few months ago, a major building in Pompeii collapsed following heavy rain, and the site in Italy is so desperate for funds that Unesco may remove its world heritage status.

The work on loan includes frescoes and marble sculptures that might have been found in a triclinium (dining room), culina (kitchen) and balneum (bathroom), among other rooms in the home of a wealthy landowner, magistrate or merchant.

But it is the everyday objects that bring it to life: after-bath scrapers and vials of perfumed oils for the hair, clothes and feet – sometimes during banquets – are displayed near a bronze bath tub, intended to suggest that someone was getting ready for their guests; delicate silver cups, bronze skewers and spoons to remove crustaceans from their shells – along with kitchen utensils such as a sieve – hint at a sumptuous meal to come. It offers an "evocation" of a domus pompeiana (Pompeiian house), to give a sense that the owner has just popped out.
See here for the full article.