Herculaneum was hit by waves of superheated gas and dust moving faster than an express train before being buried in 15-30 metres of ash. It was forgotten. Much later a new town was renamed Ercolano, in honour of the ruins discovered beneath its foundations.
We sat in front of the baths, looking across the columns which once lined the ancient exercise yard. I had wanted to show the current multi-story buildings, decked out with drying washing, perching small and uncertain above the steep cliff of the excavations and the walls of the dwellings the volcano destroyed. I misjudged the scale and found no space for the modern buildings above the grey border wall.
My daughter has written cryptically about her sketch, done at the same time: “I was thinking at the time that I will do it a little different from my other drawings”.
Love this . I loved the views of the distressed walls – perfect abstract pieces of art. Unless it’s all been restored now.
It’s partly abstract partly laziness on my part not to put in detail. Those walls sure are distressed, buried by hot ash, entombed for seventeen hundred years, then dug up by amateurs who stole the plaster murals and failed to conserve what remained and bombed by the Allies in 1944. It’s amazing anything is left.