Monday, January 13, 2020

Rome Journal: Pompei e Santorini. L'Eternità in un Giorno

"Vesuvius" by Andy Warhol
“Pompei e Santorini L’Eternita in un Giorno” is the wonderful title of the show that recently completed a run at the Scuderie del Quirinale. It’s the meeting of the genre of science fiction and fantasy with art or in actuality, reality. For in 1648 BC and 79AC life in both the villages of Akrotiri on the Island of Santorini (dating from possibly 5500 BC) and Pompei (from the Etruscan era) were instantaneously extinguished. The two lost cities were discovered in1869 and 1748 respectively. The mode of destruction in which the pyroclastic eruption brought life to a halt was also an act of preservation that has brought these two civilizations back to life. The German art historian August Mau for instance identified four styles of frescoes in Pompei: the painted stucco Greek, trompe l’oeil, no illusion, and compositional disintegration. “Many disasters have happened in the world,” said Goethe about Pompei, “but few have given so much joy to posterity.” As the curators point out Pompei was approximately half way between the present and the bronze age. Collapse was the title of Jared Diamond's book about natural disasters and human history, but the Quirinale exhibit rendered the other side. “Elle est retrouve, quoi?” eternity has been found again is the quote from Rimbaud on which the show ends.

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