The Multiple Lives of Pompeii
Surfaces and Environments
edited by Gabriella Cianciolo Cosentino, Pia Kastenmeier, Katrin Wilhelm
Pompeii's unique and tragic history has attracted scholarly attention over the centuries, but the widespread interest in this city must be sought not only in its ancient history, but also in its 270 years of modern life as well as in the enormous effort its preservation has required (and still requires), to the point that the site can be considered the largest restoration archive worldwide. In fact, Pompeii is not merely an ancient city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and later rediscovered and unearthed; rather it is the ongoing product of a long history of excavation and a large number of restorations, reconstructions, and museological reconfigurations. Like a palimpsest, it is an imaginary as well as a material entity that has constantly been reshaped by the events of history, its perception through the centuries, and changing tastes. At the same time, the myth of Pompeii, which still fires the human imagination, has had an extraordinary impact on archaeology, art, museology, architecture, cities, and our way of thinking for over two centuries. This book explores the many lives of Pompeii – ancient and modern, on-site and in museums, real and imaginary – in their dialectical and osmotic relationship. The focus lies on surfaces and environments: two different physical, spatial, and conceptual dimensions of the city which are simultaneously opposites and complementary.