Palazzo Madama in Turin continues a successful season by dedicating an exhibition to the Domus Romana in Pompeii.
A superb collection of remains, frescoes and architecture, the exhibition is an all-embracing experience and an invitation to rediscover what were Pompeii’s dwellings before the catastrophe, with furnishings and fittings in their period use, starting with the model of the Casa del Poeta tragico by Enrico Salfi. Invito a Pompei is a travelling exhibition that has already visited Georgia and Armenia, but is now enriched (in the Senate Room of Palazzo Madama) by a number of treasures, first and foremost the fresco with a garden scene from the Casa del Bracciale d’oro, which alone is worth the entire visit.
Curated by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii and the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica of Turin, the collection has found its natural home in the rooms of the Palazzo and is to be considered as a journey of additional awareness compared to walking through the alleys of the skeleton of the city that once was; giving a new sense of what it meant to ‘inhabit’ it.
The relics on display, all of fine finish and superb interest, are juxtaposed with garden furniture, frescoes decorated with naturalia and animalia, and a nymphaeum, a veritable hortus conclusus, decorated with shells forming a precious mosaic.
However, as we know, the eighteenth-century excavations also brought to light the eternal bodies of the victims, and here it is possible to admire four casts, extremely touching and suggestive.
The exhibition closes with a work by Federico Maldarelli, Nadia tasta il volto di Jone per farsi ragion della bellezza di lei (1864) (Nadia feels Jone’s face in order to be told of her beauty), which comes from the GAM in Turin and can be ‘read’ in conjunction with the dedicated catalogue, published by Silvana Editoriale and rich in thematic details.
In addition to an analysis of the works on display, the visitor/reader can discover the customs and traditions of the Pompeian civilisation: from food to fashion, jewellery and the indissoluble bond with the travellers on the Grand Tour who chose Pompeii as their chosen destination.