BRENTWOOD—Next Wednesday, September 12, the Getty Museum
will open a fascinating exhibition titled "The Last Days of Pompeii." The
exhibition draws its name from Edward Bulwer Lytton’s 1834 novel.
Lytton’s “The Last Days of Pompeii” was one of the most influential literary works of the 19th century and “transformed modern perceptions of Pompeii and inspired numerous works of art, several of which are on view in the exhibition,” says the Getty’s website.
The catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 covered the prosperous and populated city in hot ash up to 82 feet deep. Despite completely destroying the city, and killing all of its residents, much of the city and its people were preserved perfectly under the blanket of volcanic ash.
The city, now frozen in time, gives the modern world access to the lives of ancient Romans. Since its rediscovery in the early 1700’s, Pompeii has sparked the imagination and interest of generation after generation and has inspired some of the most prominent artists. Piranesi, Fragonard, Ingres, and Alma-Tadema to Duchamp, Dalí, Rothko, and Warhol all used Pompeii as a medium to examine contemporary concerns such as “sexual identity, psychoanalysis, the nuclear threat, collective memory, and the nature of art,” says the Getty website.
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