Pompeii’s plaster casts have been a long time away from their usual location. But last week while I was in the ruins, I saw the employees of the Soprintendenza (Archaeological Office) for Pompeii bringing them back. It was quite surprising – if not funny – the way they did it! As you can see in the picture, they had a special bed, a sort of stretcher, where the single cast laid on a mattress, hold by some employee. It was strange to see it “strolling around” in the ruins…!
In the last seven months the plaster casts of the Pompeiianians died during the eruption on August 24th 79 AD were not to see to most of the ruins’ visitors. They were displayed in a wood pyramid-shaped building, especially set in the middle of the amphitheater in Pompeii for the exposition “Pompeii and Europe. 1748-1943”. The most expressive casts were displayed like floating on a sort of black lava lake, like paralyzed in their last moment of life. The splendid pyramid was projected by architect Francesco Venezia, as a symbol for Egypt (linked to Pompeii in a temple dedicated to goddess Isis) as well as for a tomb.
Before the exposition, the plaster casts were restored for the first time. They had been all produced in the second half of XIX century by pouring plaster into the empty shapes, left by the bodies in the volcanic ashes that had petrified.
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If you wish to know more about uexpected Pompeii, see also: