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date: 07 December 2019

Pompeian Revivallocked

  • John Wilton-Ely


Term used to describe a variety of attempts in Europe, dating from the second half of the 18th century, to emulate antique Roman interior decoration based on the latest archaeological findings. The dramatic uncovering of the Roman cities of Herculaneum from 1738 and Pompeii from 1748—buried by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius in ad 79—inspired a series of experiments in the design of interiors and furnishings as well as in other areas of the decorative arts. Undoubtedly the most creative phases of the Pompeian Revival occurred during the second half of the 18th century. At that time limited archaeological evidence was finely balanced with imaginative experiment in works by a succession of architects and designers. Owing to the quantity of pictorial wall decorations recovered in the Vesuvian excavations, the revival also exercised a certain influence on easel painting and, to a far lesser degree, on sculpture. However, the phenomenon remained largely confined to interior schemes, losing impetus as the 19th century advanced and eventually becoming one of the many alternative styles of decoration in the historicist repertory....

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