Herculaneum

2017-01-15-herculaneum

When Vesuvius erupted in AD79, refugees from Herculaneum took refuge in boathouses build into the city wall, awaiting rescue from the sea.  They waited in vain.  Their bodies were buried, huddled together, beneath 30 metres of fallen ash to be discovered nearly two thousand years later.  One cannot but be moved on seeing these many skeletons in arch after arch in the disinterred ruins: bearing witness to their unfolding terror, hope and despair.

2017-01-15-herculaneum-2

I found myself unable to draw here, standing jostling to look with other tourists.  However long ago, these were people deserving of respect and reflection.

I have in mind a piece of art distorting scale and perspective to draw together those who died awaiting rescue, the ruins, the weight of ash and the modern town perched above.  Behind it all sits the volcano.  To this end, here are the first very small fast sketches, drawn from my photographs taken in October.

 

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