After an extensive renovation, Getty Villa exhibits collection of ancient works, ties to UCLA
Destroyed by the "pyroclastic flow" from the volcano, Herculaneum and the wealthy Roman villas for which it was known was buried by a mixture of hot ash, pumice, rock fragments and volcanic gas.
Located in the Bay of Naples, Herculaneum was a seaside resort used by wealthy Romans as an escape from hectic city life. For classicists, that meant that expensive pieces of art and libraries of papyrus were most likely buried underneath the hardened lava.
What workers found in 1752 was just that: a wealthy villa with an extraordinarily large library of charred scrolls of papyrus.
Called the Villa dei Papiri, the villa housed papyrus pieces that enthused classicists who were hoping to learn more about ancient literary works. The villa's high quality of preservation also inspired lovers of antiquity.
In fact, Getty Villa is a modern replica of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum.
Aside from viewing the tangible items extracted from the Villa dei Papiri, Getty Villa visitors will be able to observe the Villa's influence in the architecture and layout of the actual museum.
Complete with grand garden columns and a picturesque pool, Getty Villa is not only a receptacle for ancient art, but a representation of it as well.
While much of the superstructure of the villa in Herculaneum remains unexposed, its general outlay is well-known, said Susan Downey, a UCLA classics and art history professor.
For that reason, it was a perfect model for duplication.