The fantastic exhibit "Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Along the Bay of Naples" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be closing soon (October 4, 2009). If you haven't seen it yet, I would heartily recommend it.
I had the opportunity to see this exhibit last month while I was in the area attending a donor fund raising event for the Gallery of Historical Figures. I was particularly fascinated by the emphasis on archaism in Roman art, so much so that I wrote an extensive article about it for Heritage Key. Heritage Key is a new website that came online in June 2009 that focuses on the ancient and prehistoric world before 600 CE. The executive director, Jon Himoff, asked if I would be interested in writing articles for them and I agreed. If you haven't explored their website yet, I would encourage you to do so as they not only have some fascinating articles to read but have a virtual recreation of King Tut's tomb that you explore using an interface very similar to the one used in Second Life.
[Image: Bronze Replica of a Wild Boar at the House of the Chitharist in Pompeii. Photograph by Mary Harrsch]
At the Pompeii exhibit I was also finally able to see the original wild boar surrounded by hunting hounds sculpture from the House of the Citharist. In Pompeii there is a marvelous
replica of the work in situ but there is nothing like seeing the real thing. I'm afraid I was teased by my friends for traveling all the way to Pompeii (about a 20 hour flight with plane changes for me)
to see a replica then just taking a short hop (2 hours from here) down to L.A. to see the original!
I also saw a fresco of the Three Graces from an insula in Pompeii. It looks very much like a mosaic of the Three Graces from the House of Apollo in Pompeii that I photographed at the Museo Archaeologico di Napoli two years ago.
[Image - Mosaic of The Three Graces from the House of Apollo in Pompeii. Photographed at the Museo Archaeologico di Napoli in Naples, Italy by Mary Harrsch.]
I was also excited to finally get to see the beautiful ceremonial gladiator helmet that I had heard about but was unable to see at the museum in Naples because it was on tour at the time.
The ornate Thracian-style helmet was beautifully embossed with scenes from the Fall of Troy. The curators felt that the helmet was probably ceremonial because of the detail on it. It was probably worn during the pompa or parade of the gladiators that preceded the combat portion of the games.