Roman Landscapes: Visions of Nature and Myth from Rome and Pompeii
Roman Landscapes: Visions of Nature and Myth from Rome and Pompeii will be the first exhibition in the United States to explore the rich body of landscape imagery in ancient Roman art. The exhibition will feature landscape scenes in a variety of media, including wall paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and cameo glass and silver vessels, from archaeological sites in Italy. These works depict a fascinating yet imaginary vision of a countryside replete with seaside villas and rural shrines, where gods and mythological heroes mingle with travelers, herdsmen and worshippers.
Drawing on this material, Roman Landscapes will invite visitors to develop a more nuanced understanding of “landscape” as a genre and will encourage them to recognize the complexity of these seemingly naturalistic depictions of the outdoor world. Roman Landscapes will introduce the Museum’s audiences to the political, social, religious, and artistic significance of these works created between the first century BC and the second century AD and will introduce the distinctive artistic conventions for representing space and narrative that are typical of Roman landscapes and set them apart from landscape scenes in later European art.
Many of the artworks have never before been shown in the United States, among them, two panels of the celebrated Odyssey Landscapes, a series of wall paintings depicting episodes from Homer’s Odyssey that were found in Rome and are now in the Vatican Museums. Other works in the exhibition will be lent by museums in Italy, Germany, and the U.S.