"From Pompeii to the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem"
The Fresco Room at the Bible Lands Museum holds breathtaking wall paintings of the 1st century from the province of Campania in Italy. One of the prominent pieces from the collection is the "Erotic Scene of a Nude Nymph".
The collection offers a unique opportunity in Israel to view exquisite examples of Roman wall paintings of the highest quality that decorated the public and private buildings in ancient Rome and Pompeii.
The frescos in this collection are believed to be from the villas of Boscotrecase, a suburb of Pompeii that was frozen in time with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E. Sealed beneath the lava, they were preserved for centuries and still retain their vibrant colors and fine detailed painting. The beautiful frescos, made in the roman technique of wet plaster painting, provide a vivid reflection of daily life, aesthetic experience, and themes important to the elite of ancient roman society. They portray magical panoramic views of nature, mythology, erotica and more.
One of the prominent paintings in the exhibition is the "Tempietto with Standing God", early fourth style, ca. 50-62 C.E. This fresco, adorned with mythology and architectural elements, is part of a series of 18 paintings from the entrance hall of a villa in Boscotrecase. In the center of the fresco, standing on a wood beam in the front plane, appears to be the god Apollo. Our eye is tricked with the illusion of depth in the painting and cannot fully depict whether Apollo is under the temple dome or standing in front of the dome.
Another interesting painting in the exhibition is the "Erotic Scene of a Nymph Surprised by a Satyr", fourth style, 65-70 C.E. This fresco decorated the villa's bedroom walls.
Sections of the "Black Room" include the only fragment of a ceiling outside of Pompeii itself, and is from approximately 60 C.E. These dramatic wall paintings depict the religious and folklore aspects of daily life with decorative floral details and figures from Greek Mythology including Pegasus and Aries, the god of love. The ceiling traces the allegory of Aries playing with a bee, depicting how the bee stung Aries and how he went running to his mother Aphrodite, who then reminded him that his own pain does not compare to the suffering he inflicts on humans when he shoots his darts of love and hatred.
The frescos are on loan from the private collection of Dr. Elie and Batya Borowski, Founders of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.