Palilia 26: Wolfgang Ehrhardt, Decorative and residential context. Removal, restoration and preservation of wall paintings in the Campanian antique sites.


In 1873 August Mau published his ground-breaking discovery that the wall paintings in the houses of Pompeii do not date back to the town's last twenty or thirty years, before it was buried by the Vesuvian ashes in 79 A.D., but to a period of more than two hundred years, documenting domestic culture during the transition from Late Hellenistic to Imperial Times. Consequently, the contexts of decoration were stylistically distinguished. However, the motivation to maintain the older decoration, parts of which were almost two hundred years old, rather than replacing them with modern painting, has not been questioned so far.
This gap is closed in the presented work by examining the murals' micro-historical context. Gradually, a rational strategy becomes apparent in the way the ancient house owners would have entire rooms or just certain walls redecorated following recent painting trends, at the same time preserving and restoring already existing, older decorations and/or merging them with contemporary elements to a seemingly harmonious, amalgamated whole.

As usual the volume includes a detailed catalogue section. All collected material which have been the argumentative basis for the assessment of the respective context of decoration within a house are compiled here. This section would not only exceed the financial conditions of a printed publication, but also fragmentary in the long term considering the flood of new publication on Campanian antique sites. Therefore, this section will be available as an online-Catalogue within the Arachne. The material is organized by its location and further by house numbers or rather by the modern building name. Information about the decoration of every individual room can be found in the corresponding linked records.