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Saturday, September 26, 2015


I got to the big city back in August and I really wanted to visit the Royal Ontario Museum.
I hadn't been there in ages.  Not since my college days, when I used to go to sit & sketch my afternoons away.
I just had a strong desire to visit and stroll through at my own pace...all on my ownsome!
So whiles my honey was at work & I waited anxiously for the end of the day to arrive so we could go pick up Korra-Soleil.
I took in the whole entire museum...it was exhausting, it's a huge huge place but I enjoyed it like never before.
I especially loved the special exhibition on Pompeii.
I took well over 200 photos so that my honey could see what I was seeing...for he's abit of a history buff.
The very first thing you see when you enter the exhibit is this dog.
He was tied to a pole and couldn't run away at all to escape the eruption...
I knew right here that this would be a powerful and stiffening viewing experience...
I had to take a deep breathe before moving on.

 The design of the whole exhibition caught my attention almost as much as the artifacts...
but that was probably my background as a gallery coordinator peeking out.
I loved the shadows and reflections so so much.  I would inwardly gasp at almost every turn, ha ha.
I am actually shocked that I managed to get so many shots without people in them because it was jam packed.

I was surprised somehow at the quality of all of the artwork and sculpture...
I don't know what exactly I was expecting but it wasn't this advanced visual splendor & intricate beauty that's for sure..

This portrait of a Pompeii lady took my breathe away...a mosaic of a tiny little pieces of lime stone.

Apparently during this time religion was borrowed from all across Rome
with a huge appeal being found in exotic mystery cults...
such as the worshiping of the Goddess Isis, she among other deities offered hope of an afterlife.

The talent of the Pompeian artists and craftspeople was apparent at every turn.

This civilization was super huge into theatrics and theater as well.
Apparently having 2 covered amphitheaters side by side before any other covered buildings in their city.

I was continually surprised at the minute detailing of everything, even on water spouts like this one.

This is one this that the parents weren't keen on!
But apparently the phallus symbol and shape in conjunction with the sound of bells
were commonly used and believed to ward of evil.

They were apparently not a very prudish civilization...
Pieces like this one were found in bedrooms, bars & bathhouses...
but it was unknown if they were meant to be instructional or simply inspirational.
I had to laugh at this because whiles I read this fact I was also simultaneously seeing
parent after parent walking in and turning around quickly, 'tsk tsk tsking' over the lack of signage about nudity!

This piece was offending a lot of the patrons which I found silly because if they took the time to read about it
instead of walking away in a huffy rush complaining about this work being in the presence of their kids,
they would have learnt that it was not a piece about bestiality at all but about Roman myth & the folklore of Pan!
Apparently when shown in other museums this and other pieces like it were kept in rooms with strict restricted access...
I am glad the ROM had better sensibilities about them because they are as awesome as any other piece to behold.

This piece was exquisite, another incredible mosaic featuring all of the different fish that they ate way back when.
It was about 4 x 4 feet and even with large chunks sadly missing it was just incredibly beautiful.
and tugged strongly on my illustrative loving heart.

I was intrigued by the daily aspects of Pompeian daily lives...
and how similar their kitchen tool looked like ours, like this strainer.

I was also struck but how beautifully, masterfully & intricately they worked difficult materials like metal.

And how they spread beautiful items throughout their whole lives, especially in their private gardens.

Of course, I inwardly squealed when I saw a rabbit figure, ha ha...quite the wonderful water spigot if you ask me!
Pompeii was built on a rather steep gradient and was abundant in jetting fountains and water displays
thanks to the supply and constant high pressure of the Aqua Augusta aqueduct.

Their glass-ware was lovely...
these pieces weren't melted by the pyroclastic surge at all, it wasn't hot enough for that.
Apparently Roman glass only melted between 800-1000 degrees Celsius
and the eruption only reached heat of about 300 degrees Celsius.
These pieces were believed to have been left in a cupboard set on fire by an overturned lamp during the eruption.
The reflection of them has such an apparition-like quality that I loved.

Can you imagine being one of the archaeologists to find this piece...
too have a hand in cleaning it off and restoring it to it's former glory...wow!
(My honey & have actually have a dream of one day volunteering on an archaeological dig)
This bronze sculpture was found with several others around a pool...
one of few to survive not only the eruption but afterwards as well for
apparently many items were melted down for their materials.

And of course, the most powerful part of the show...
the casts of the bodies...
Haunting and very hard to look at...

There was a hushed and strange energy in this section of the exhibition...
people feeling something but not 100% sure on how to take it all in.
I felt somehow awkward taking photos but I wanted to remember what I was seeing...
I wanted my honey to see it all and in fact photography was encouraged.

Apparently escape was possible at the beginning of the first day of the eruption...
but by the 2nd day the deaths began and by the end of that day escape was impossible.
It was believed that most fled to the water hoping to escape by boat...
and something like only 1/3 of the area has been excavated so far...they haven't even gotten to the waterside area yet.

I was unfortunately thrown off from fully enjoying the exhibit & completely being able to take it all
due to all of the screaming rambunctious children bouncing off of me & running amuk like possessed little gremlins!
I understand kids are hard to control but come on...this wasn't a playground by far!
I never would have been allowed to run around so senselessly and noisily when I was a kid, no way!...
My parents were always respectful of the impact their kids were having on their immediate environment.
I felt like it was rather disrespectful to this piece of history.
The museum should have 'kid-free' days or hours...I am sure many of us out there would take advantage of that!
All that aside however, It was a very beautifully curated show and whilst extremely touching and sad,
it was a very powerful reminder of the frailty and preciousness of life for both the young & old.

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