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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

Fresco of Flora, goddess of Spring from a villa in Stabiae


 'Flora' from Villa Arianna, Stabiae, 1st C. AD

This small fragment of a fresco, depicting Flora, is one of my all time favourite images and is currently to be found, amongst other treasures, at the exhibition in the British Museum. Flora is depicted with her back to us, turning her head as she picks some flowers with her delicate fingers. You can hardly see her face. The poetry of this piece is in this effortless and graceful pose, just as beautiful as  'The Bather of Valpincon' by Ingres (1806) and somehow fresher.  It inspired a series of self-portraits from 2002-4, to be found in Retrospective section of this website.
The Roman frescos of gardens (like the one from 'The House of the Golden Bracelet') also inspired my large scale paintings of orchids (in 'Still Life'). I was particularly drawn to the 'all-over' attention to detail (flowers, birds, sculptural pediments are all given the same amount of care). The gardens seem to be buzzing and rippling with life!
A fantastic exhibition. 

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