Cooperation to Set Up and Display for the Special Exhibition: POMPEII

Displaying a wall painting “Macedonian prince with a philosopher”

 The Tokyo National Museum is currently holding the Special Exhibition: POMPEII from January 14th to April 3rd, 2022. The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) cooperated on the condition survey of the artifacts for the exhibition (wall paintings, mosaics and marble statues) at the display setting prior to the opening of this exhibition.

 Pompeii is a city built in the Roman period, located about 23 km southeast of Naples, a city in the south of Italy. In 79 AD, a major eruption of Mount Vesuvius, located between Naples and Pompeii, buried the city with volcanic ash and pumice in a twinkle. Time has passed; the city of Pompeii was rediscovered in 1748. Full-scale excavation was started then. Many buildings, wall paintings, and artifacts of that time have been unearthed. About 150 pieces came to Japan from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, which holds a vast collection of artifacts excavated from Pompeii. These attract many museum visitors.

 We had a chance to watch the set-up process at the exhibition venues, which we rarely experience during our usual work. In usual cases, experts from the museums owning these artifacts accompany them. However, they could not come to Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thereafter, the entire exhibition set-up was left to the staff members of the Tokyo National Museum, and the experts in fine art transportation and display. The operation is far from easy, since special attention has to be paid, not to damage the pieces while simultaneously considering exhibit conditions best tailored to audiences. There is a wall painting weighing several hundreds of kilograms amongst the pieces listed for the exhibition. It was a very good opportunity for us to realize that the exhibitions we usually visit without giving them special attention can only be accomplished due to the sincere efforts of many people.

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