Experts bring Pompeii to life
The British Museum exhibit reaches Prague for one night
Posted: September 11, 2013
Courtesy Photo: © Scott Wishart
Curator Paul Roberts explains one of the mosaics in this behind-the-scene photo.
As part of its program of alternative cinema, kino Světozor and other art house cinemas will be taking you inside the British Museum for a guided tour of the highly popular "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum" exhibit. The 80-minute presentation called Pompeii Captured Live is introduced by museum director Neil MacGregor, and uses experts to explain the significance of some 400 objects.
Pompeii and Herculaneum are two Roman towns that were on the side of Mount Vesuvius, a volcano that erupted in 79 A.D. near what is now Naples, Italy. While some people escaped, many were trapped and castings, of the citizens show them huddled in their final positions. But the exhibit goes beyond those well-known images to explore what life was like at the time as well.
"The … event will take visitors along a Roman street and into a local house with atrium entrance, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, sitting room and garden. In the company of experts such as the curator of the exhibition Paul Roberts; Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, Mary Beard; historian Bettany Hughes; as well as interviewees such as chef Giorgio Locatelli and gardener Rachel de Thame, we will be taken close up to the famous casts of the people caught in the volcanic heat as well as the objects from their daily lives," the British Museum said in a press release. The production was initially broadcast live in Britain in June and now is available as a digital projection to cinemas for a very limited time.
"Following the success of live cinema broadcasts of theatre, opera and ballet, the British Museum is thrilled to produce and broadcast its live exhibition event," museum director Neil MacGregor said in June. "This is a unique experience for audiences across the country to enjoy a very special evening view of this unmissable exhibition, full of fascinating objects lent to us from Italy, from the comfort of a cinema chair. It will be a very personal tour guided by experts who will explore the stories these special objects tell us of Roman life 2000 years ago. We hope this will inspire people to travel to come and see the exhibition at the British Museum."
When: Sept. 19 at 8 p.m.
Where: Kino Světozor
Tickets: 250 Kč
The production shows jewelery, sculpture, mosaics, cooking equipment and food such as a loaf of bread with a baker's stamp. "Also on display will be wooden furniture carbonized by the high temperatures of the ash that engulfed Herculaneum which are extremely rare finds that would not have survived at Pompeii - showing the importance of combining evidence from the two cities. The furniture includes a linen chest, an inlaid stool and even a garden bench. Perhaps the most astonishing and moving piece is a baby's crib," the press release said.
This is the first exhibition covering this topic held in the British Museum; although there was another exhibition in London almost four decades ago. Unlike previous exhibitions, the focus is more on daily life than on the catastrophe itself.
Aerofilms, the distributor that is providing the alternative content to Světozor and other cinemas, also announced a new schedule of recorded concerts including classic Rollings Stones shows, Led Zeppelin in 2007, the Doors in 1968, Queen in 1986 and a Ridley Scott production about Bruce Springsteen. The recent Robbie Williams concert that was shown live will also be repeated, as it did remarkably well for the local theaters that showed it, an Aerofilms representative told The Prague Post. An new season of ballet is also starting, in addition to the ongoing opera and English-language theater.
Raymond Johnston can be reached at
Tags: Pompeii, British Museum, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Herculaneum, digital broadcasting, Bruce Springsteen, Ridley Scott.