Thursday, May 19, 2011

Herculaneum. Past and Future. PART 4: The Villa of the Papyri

The Villa of the Papyri provides a microcosm of all the various aspects of Herculaneum. It features in the history of the excavations and the literature advocating further excavation, both recent and historical. It is noted with interest in the writings of 18th and 19th century travellers and was a major cultural influence in the Neoclassic movement. The eponymous papyri have generated a great deal of literature, they figure in the early travel accounts of visitors and in the contributions to the Philosophical Proceedings of the Royal Society in the 18th century and were the cause for a Royal Commission at the time when Britain was embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars. But the art is also of major importance, both sculpture and painting, mirrored in numerous “Pompeian rooms” across Europe.

This last facet is well brought out in AWH’s book, and enhanced by the excellent illustrations which are a major feature of the publication. A particular bonus is the treatment of paintings and sculpture discovered in the excavations of the past ten years or so. The principal section on the Villa is in the chapter on “The town and its setting” but a glance at the index under “Houses” demonstrates the all-pervading interest that the house provides.

More at Blogging Pompeii

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