The first systematically compiled catalogue of the frescoes kept at the Naples National Archeological Museum. The largest collection of Roman painting with hundreds of examples from Pompeii and Herculaneum
This systematically compiled catalogue of the paintings in the Naples National Archaeological Museum examines a repertoire that is quite unique. It ranges from the more sober ‘incrustation’ paintings imitating colored marble, to the huge wall paintings from Boscoreale in which princes and philosophers are depicted on a vivid ‘Pompeii red’ background, undoubtedly an echo from Hellenistic art; from the trompe l’oeuil architectural scenes designed to captivate the élite to sweeping arabesques. Excellent photography finally enables us to see the ancient colors as they really are. The details revealed by recent restoration have made it possible to confirm or review interpretations of the paintings in accurate charts and short essays which help to reconstruct the contexts of the paintings as part of a broader program of figurative art. They also make it possible to examine in depth unusual genres like garden painting, the various aspects of painting technique and how painting workshops were organized. But the book is also a journey of images through the Graeco-Roman world: from the gods and heroes of the myths to their sacred rituals, from scenes of everyday life to the erotic, from portraits to paintings of Still Life and the landscape. They enable us to imagine their villas by the sea and the exotic scenes of distant havens, the riot between the inhabitants of Pompeii and Nocera in the amphitheater at Pompeii, and Mount Vesuvius when it was still covered with the vines of Bacchus.