"The Last Days of Pompeii - Decadence, Apocalypse, Ressurrection" by Victoria Gardner Coates

The Last Days of Pompeii - Decadence, Apocalypse, Ressurrection Victoria Gardner Coates

Publication date:
06 Sep 2012
Getty Publications
256 pages: 286 x 248 x 25mm
150 full-colour & 20 b&w illustrations


It is a fascinating survey of the modern obsession with the destruction of Pompeii as seen through the eyes or artists. Destroyed yet paradoxically preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79, Pompeii and other nearby sites are usually considered places where we can most directly experience the daily lives of ancient Romans. Rather than present these sites as windows to the past "The Last Days of Pompeii" explores Pompeii as a modern obsession, in which the Vesuvian sites function as mirrors of the present. Through cultural appropriation and projection, outstanding visual and literary artists of the last three centuries have made the ancient catastrophe their own, expressing contemporary concerns in diverse media - from paintings, prints, and sculpture, to theatrical performances, photography, and film. This lavishly illustrated volume - featuring the works of artists such as Fragonard, Kaufmann, Duchamp, Dali, and Warhol - surveys the legacy of Pompeii in the modern imagination.

Victoria C. Gardner Coates received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania where she has been a lecturer and visiting scholar. Kenneth Lapatin is associate curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Jon L. Seydl is the Paul J. and Edith Ingalls Vignos, Jr. Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, 1500-1800, at the Cleveland Museum of Art.