From the Ashes of Vesuvius, In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite

Begin Date2007-07-08
End Date2007-10-07
CuratorsDr. Anne R. Bromberg
Last Harvested At2019-01-12
Credit LineOrganized by the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii and the Restoring Ancient Stabiae (RAS) Foundation. Tour managed by International Arts & Artists, and partially sponsored by NIAF, Grand Circle Foundation, and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Los Angeles. In Dallas, the exhibition was supported by Interceramic and by the Donor Circle membership program through leadership gifts by Gail and Dan Cook, Charron and Peter Denker, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, The Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas, and Dee Torbert. The Dallas Museum of Art acknowledges generous funding from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. Air transportation provided by American Airlines. Promotional partners were The Dallas Morning News and Time Warner Cable.
LocationChilton Gallery I
OrganizerInternational Arts and Artists; Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii; Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation
DescriptionMany are aware that Mount Vesuvius' eruption in A.D. 79 buried the famouse town of Pompeii, Italy. But, few people know that it also buried Stabiae, a seaside enclave of the rich and famous about three miles away, at the foot of the Sorrento-Almalfi Coast. From the Ashes of Vesuvius, In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite will open at the Dallas Museum of Art on July 8 with a stunning collection of archaeological objects from the ancient Roman sites of Stabiae (modern Castellammare di Stabia). The exhibition premiered at the Smithsonian before traveling to other U.S. cities. In Stabiano features maps, excavation photographs and 72 objects dating between 89 B.C. and the time of the eruption, all from the villas of ancient Stabiae. "The site is an enormous archaeological treasure, another 'modern Pompeii' waiting to be discovered," said Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. "The remarkable exhibition presents the lifestyle of the very wealthy and powerful Roman elite. It is the best preserved concentration of first century B.C. and A.D. elite seaside villas in the entire Mediterranean world." "Among the artifacts are ancient frescoes, many of the highest quality, that demonstrate to visitors two major styles of the time," said guest co-curator Thomas Noble Howe, Coordinator General of The Restoring Ancient Stabiae (R.A.S.) Foundation project and professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. "The first style is a painterly style with floating figures and drapery fluttering in the breeze, painted with impressionist-like strokes as seen in the frescoes 'Flora' and 'Diana'; and the second is a more dramatic style featuring actors of the time portraying mythological scenes." The exhibition was organized by the R.A.S Foundation, under the scientific supervision of the Archaeological Superintendance of Pompeii, and sponsored by the Region of Campania and Alitalia Airlines. It tells the stories of four villas owned by wealthy Romans who spent the summer months in this town by the bay - Villa San Marco, Villa del Pastore, Villa Arianna and Villa Carmiano. In the story of Villa Carmiano, visitors can see the complete reconstruction of a triclinium, a three-couch dining room. The three couches arranged in a U shape could accommodate up to nine guests, whose seating order would be carefully chosen. They would recline and prop up on their left elbows, reaching for food on small tables placed in front of them. Because it buried the towns in dry ash and pumice, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius preserved the furnishings, household items and farm equipment. The exhibition includes examples of these everyday objects including lamps, dinnerware, cooking utensils and garden tools made of materials like terracotta, glass, ceramic, bronze and iron.