Bacchus (c) Museo Arch…poli.jpg

Bacchus (c) Museo Arch…poli.jpg

Art / Events / Food / Oxford

Pompeii Exhibition at the Ashmoleum Museum

A review by Nicholas Newman

The Pompeii exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmoleum Museum, gives a brief insight into the many treasures uncovered during the various archaeological digs that have taken place in the Pompeii area since the 18th century. As a result, this collection is made up of treasures from a range of European museum collections.

It is certainly worth seeing the glorious statue of Bacchus and the Etruscan burial urn. Pompeii, is an ancient Roman city, located on the slopes of Mont Versuvius, near the modern Italian city of Naples.

Etruscan burial urn
Etruscan burial urn

What to see

The theme of the exhibit ( 25 July 2019–12 January 2020) was supposed to be focused on discoveries linked to luxury, food and drink. On display there are over 400 objects including statues, cooking utensils, plates, vases, etc. In addition, there were a few frescos and mosaics, but for many at the exhibit, the background images of the area were much more interesting to the visitor.

Fish (c) Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

In fact, I would say the presentation looked old fashioned, and lacked the required three dimensional contexts, one has grown to expect from past Ashmoleum exhibits, such as the one on Sicily.

Some Context needed

 It would have been nice to have some context on display about the witnessing of Mont Vesuvius eruption in AD 79, by the likes of Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet, or even having someone producing a simple roman meal.

In fact, the Pompeii video promotional trailer provides more interest to the visitor, than the exhibition itself.

Exhibition: Last Supper in Pompeii Dates: 25 July 2019–12 January 2020 Venue: The John Sainsbury Exhibition Galleries Press View: Wednesday 24 July 2019, 11am–3pm Tickets: £12.25/£11.25 concessions; purchase at the museum or book online Publication:

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue; £25, available at the Ashmolean or online

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