Pompeii Lands In New York City
Pompeii has plopped down in New York City. A new exhibit, "Pompeii The Exhibit: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius" has opened at New York's Discovery Times Square. There's something about the centuries-old story of Pompeii that never fails to captivate the general public. It ties into our end-of-days fears, that idea that at any moment, a disruption could simply wipe us all out. Life went on at Pompeii for 700 years, a rich and artistic culture before, on a fateful day in 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried the citizens and all their worldly goods under lava and ash.
Pompeii exhibits are always touching in their simple details. This latest exhibition features a standard element of these, the body casts made from remains of those who died in the disaster. The images of the victims remind us of just how fleeting life can be. This new exhibit gets even closer to bringing that feeling to museum goers through a short film that attempts to recreate what it must have been like for the citizens of Pompeii showing the volcano's fury and shaking the museum floor, then quieting to reveal the images of the bodies hardened in volcanic ash.
But Pompeii's tragedy is just part of the story. There was real luxury in Pompeii. It was a bustling city, a trade port dealing in wines, olive oil and more. Some of the luxury villas in the area have been well-preserved and the artifacts in the exhibit show how some of the more wealthy citizens enjoyed life. Above is the detail of a mosaic fountain that gives a hint of the craftsmanship of the time period. The exhibit is curated by the Soprintendenza di Archaeologica Napoli e Pompei and runs through September 5.