“The Painters of Pompeii” Opens at The Oklahoma City Museum of Art

June 23, 2021  20:12  |  News

Beginning June 26, visitors to the OKCMOA will be transported to ancient Rome through the incredible wall paintings, or frescoes, of Pompeii and Herculaneum. “The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples” highlights the rarely explored world of the ancient Roman painter and offers a glimpse into their processes, materials and techniques through over 80 artefacts and artworks. Open through Oct. 17, this historic presentation of the art of ancient Rome will be presented exclusively at OKCMOA before returning to Europe.

The Painters of Pompeii

Photo – Oklahoma City Museum of Art archives ©

“In 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the seaside resort towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash and volcanic rock,” said Dr. Michael J. Anderson, OKCMOA president and CEO. “The eruption preserved Roman luxury villas and homes until excavations began in the 1700s. These excavations unearthed extensive and richly coloured frescoes painted on the walls of homes and public buildings throughout the cities.”

“Early in the excavations, many of the paintings were cut out of the walls and taken to museums,” Anderson continued. “It is incredibly rare for ancient paintings to survive into the present day, much less to be taken to a museum for display. We are thrilled to provide the incredible opportunity to be immersed in the day-to-day lives of the ancient Romans.”

“The Painters of Pompeii” highlights a seldom-seen medium–the Roman wall painting, which was prevalent in ancient Rome. The interiors of Roman buildings were sumptuously decorated with bold colours and designs that ranged in theme from mythology to landscapes to still lifes to architecture. Often, these paintings covered the entire wall, from floor to ceiling, and transported the viewer beyond the confines of the room.


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