Friday, June 17, 2016
A Visit to the Museum
I love the fact that our Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal allows us to take photographs. The current exhibit on Pompeii provided many interesting opportunities. Pompeii provides us with a snapshot of life at the time - a time capsule. Its amazingly well-preserved relics tell a story of a cross-section of people, from the wealthy to the slaves.
Above is a relief of theatre masks which may have adorned a Pompeii garden. Masks were worn by actors all of whom were male.
We are able to look back and see what some people looked like - not through photographs but through the sculptures, through coins (with the emperor's likenesses) and through the casts of people who perished in the tragedy.
My eye is always caught by items representing music. It seems that music did not play that important a role in Roman life though it did become more prevalent as the empire spread and they adopted the tastes and arts of other cultures. They favoured a variety of games, theatre, organized fights and, of course, food with friends.
The exhibit comprised objects of beauty as well as practical objects from pots and pans to this strainer - items that belonged in the homes of the wealthy and items used by servants and slaves in the kitchens of the well-to-do. There was armour worn by gladiators, dice used in gaming, erotic art, frescos from homes depicting the interests of Pompeiians from the gods to food and from ships to people at a banquet.
Most dishes were made of metal or pottery. There were a few glass items on display. Some were intact and others had become misshapen because of the extreme heat of the pyroclastic cloud.
Bravo to the curators - an afternoon well-spent.