Museum of Fine Arts: Pompeii

Last Saturday, we visited the Pompeii exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. Located in downtown Montreal, the building is a hot spot for pictures. I admit I thought it beautiful and couldn’t resist snapping a picture myself.

Our visit at MMFA was exclusively for the Pompeii exhibition, which features over 220 archaeological artifacts in a multisensorial environment. We observed mosaics, frescoes, bronze and marble statues, decorative art objects, as well as utensils and personal accessories from back then. We were able to learn how Pompeians lived and ate, as well as how they functioned overall as a society. It was indeed interesting.

Left: Apollo
Right: Isis

This portrait depicts a female wearing a bead diadem, which means she’s of high status.

Carbonized bread

Charred figs and olives

The tragic event that occurred in Pompeii, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. which killed many Pompeians, is both sad and moving. Temperatures of approximately 300 degrees Celsius killed Pompeians. The fine ash adhered to their skin and clothing, which hardened to form a shell around their corpse. Over time the human remains decayed, leaving a cavity or a highly detailed mold of the deceased.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people are believed to have lived in Pompeii. More than a thousand bodies have been unearthed from the hardened ashes. One third of the city, including the port and the surrounding countryside, still lies beneath the ground. Even though the total number of victims is unknown, one thing is certain: many did walk away.

Dog Plaster Cast

The Kneeling Man
It’s like he saw what was coming and knew death was upon him.

The fact that people were burned alive and their bodies hardened into shells to the point that we, in modern time, are able to observe how they were positioned at their time of death is both sad and astounding. We really enjoyed the exhibition and would highly recommend it if you ever come across this event. After experiencing this, we can’t wait to see Pompeii in person ourselves.

Have you been to Pompeii before?



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