An exhibition called "Pompeii, a way of living" is presenting the ancient city in all its pre-volcanic splendor. The exhibition in Paris is an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the legendary Italian town of Pompeii some 2,000 years ago.
Instead of focusing on the volcano's eruption, the Paris exhibition showcases how citizens went about their daily lives before the eruption covered them all with ash.
The artistic director of the Musee Maillol, Patrizia Nitti, said the idea was to attract visitors' attention, not by showing luxury or wealth, but by proving that people's daily lives around 79 A.D. were pretty similar to our own.
Patrizia Nitti said, "A house dating from the Renaissance or the 18th century, or the Versailles palace are without a doubt, absolute marvels. But one would not be able to live there anymore, because it doesn't fit with our way of living, with the way we think about our daily life. On the other hand, the homes of Pompeii are totally liveable for us. They had central heating, a size nearer to today's scale, running water, plumbing to send used waters to the sewers. It was a way of living very similar to ours."
A number of pieces exhibiting daily life are displayed in the exhibit, such as frescoes, mosaics as well as other objects of everyday life.
The exhibition shows a wide range of objects such as a frying pan, a heart-shaped cake dish, a stove and what looks like a water pitcher in excellent condition.
Before becoming the Maillol museum's artistic director, Patrizia Nitti spent years studying Pompeii's remains. Where other ancient cities have suffered from erosion and have taken most of their objects with them, Pompeii gives us the striking impression that life has stopped suddenly.Patrizia Nitti said, "Since Pompeii's citizens died of suffocation, every sign of life stopped suddenly. And when we started to dig up remains, we found a life in full swing. It was noon and the people were enjoying their normal mid-day life. 2,000 years later, we discover the exact same thing."
Such pieces have never yet been displayed in France, and the exhibition will also be the first time a museum showcases a way of living as opposed to specific pieces.
The exhibition will end in February 2012.