The folks at The Getty Villa extended a most hospitable hand last week as the private viewing of "The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection" got underway. The exhibiton marks the first of the newly appointed director, Timothy Potts.
Named after Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 19th century novel of the same name, the collection comprised 74 original artworks depicting scenes of the natural disaster throughout history. From Salvador Dalí's mesmerizing Gradiva Rediscovers the Anthropomorphic Ruins (1931–32) to Warhol's Mount Vesuvius (1985), the exhibit centers around the volcanic eruption, which simultaneously destroyed and preserved the village of Pompeii in 79AD.
Timothy Potts eloquently accused the myriad portrayals of the era, the ones of decadence, apocalypse and resurrection, of "reinventing the past to suit the future", or so it was said of the idyllic 'decadence' shown in John William Godward's Mischief and Repose (1895).
Almost as potently as the volcanic ash preserved the city, the artwork of Pompeii keeps the era a frequently revisted snapshot in time, one of which the Getty makes certain remains accesible from the far reaches of Pompeii all the way across to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
On display until January 2013.
Written by Jodie Jones