Apocalypse Art

Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse & Resurrection

Andy Warhol’s Mount Vesuvius is one of the works about the AD 79 eruption featured in The Last Days of Pompeii – Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection at the J. Paul Getty Villa in Malibu.

“The exhibition takes its title from the hugely popular 19th century Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel of the same name, which melodramatically told the story of Pompeii as one of corruption and seduction. Casting the location in an almost fictitious light of luxury and vice, Bulwer-Lytton inspired the now popular vision of Pompeii as a decadent city deserving of its apocalyptic divine punishment.” –Huffington Post

In Wilhelm Jensen’s 1903 novella Gradiva: A Pompeian Fancy, an archaeologist develops a fixation on a beautiful young woman depicted in an ancient Roman relief. He imagines her walking the streets and perishing in the eruption of Vesuvius. This André Masson painting (1939) alludes to a crucial moment in the novella when the protagonist envisions Gradiva’s death in the eruption of Vesuvius as she sits at a temple, laying her head on its marble steps. Below: Some of the other art.  See the exhibition pages, here, with links to works representing decadence, apocalypse and resurrection.

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