Sunday, 17 January 2010

Marble Relief at Herculaneum

I just read Sarah's blog about the newly discovered Herculaneum relief and I wonder if the attached image, which I took some years ago, could be the 1997 relief mentioned in the article.

The top photograph shows how the marble relief was displayed "in situ" in the Villa of the Papyri archaeological area. Possibly it came from the indented rectangle in the wall above and to the right of the easel? However, it has since disappeared from the site and I would be very interested if anyone else remembers seeing it there and perhaps knows where it might be now.

The second image is a close up of the relief and the third is how the photograph was enlarged and used as a backdrop in the exhibition "Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2008.


Sarah Court said...

I can confirm that the "new" relief is indeed from that same room as the earlier one. The works that took place last year in the area were to complete excavation and tidy up the Villa of the Papyri archaeological area (you can see in Jennifer's picture that the room is incompletly excavated). It was the very fact that the room had been decorated with one relief that caused the excavators (in particular Mimmo Esposito) to approach the other wall with care to check if there was a similar decorative feature.
From what I understand the earlier relief that was displayed in situ was actually a copy - and the original went to the storerooms. If you give me a couple of days, I can check where it is currently located.
I believe that Mimmo Esposito et al. are set to publish the discovery of the relief and discuss the wider context sometime soon - I can also check the status of that.

Sarah Court said...

I've done a little bit of investigation and I can now tell you:

- that the relief on display in the 1990s was indeed a copy, and the original went immediately into the Soprintendenza lab for restoration and then was stored
- while it has been out on loan for various exhibitions since then it is currently back in the Soprintendenza storerooms at Herculaneum
- the inventory number is 75797
- it has been published in the out-of-print impossible-to-find publication: Ascione, G.C. and Pagano, M. (2000) L'Antiquarium di Ercolano. Electa Napoli.

Hope that helps!

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