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Ancient Art Council

Ancient Art Department

Ancient Art Council
Legion of Honor

100 34th Avenue, Lincoln Park
San Francisco, CA 94121


Please be reminded that the program will start at 10:00 am (PDT) and end (approximately) at 3:00 pm (PDT).

Dr. Paul Roberts

Last Supper in Pompeii - the Exhibition, its Story and its Legacy

Dr. Joanne Berry

People of Pompeii


Dr. Massimo Osanna (Keynote Speaker)

Etruscan Pompeii

Dr. Kenneth Lapatin

Myths of Pompeii

The Ancient Art Council programs for the exhibition Last Supper in Pompeii are supported by Elizabeth D. Moyer, Ph.D., and Michael C. Powanda, Ph.D.

Last Supper in Pompeii - the Exhibition, its Story and its Legacy

For the Romans, life meant getting together to eat and drink, in a pub or at a banquet. Last Supper in Pompeii celebrated essentially the Roman love affair with food and wine—a journey, from fields and vineyards to markets and shops, from tables to toilets and the tomb.

Fascinating objects, often beautiful, sometimes wonderfully mundane,  sometimes disturbing but always intriguing, chart the journey. A sculpture of Bacchus god of his wine with his faithful panther, a mosaic skeleton reminding us to seize the day, a bottle of olive oil, pots and pans from a roadside cafe and even the mortal remains of a woman who died on that fateful day Vesuvius erupted, ending the life of the city.

People of Pompeii

Is it possible to reconstruct the lives of Pompeii’s inhabitants? This lecture will consider the evidence for the status, careers, property, and families of a range of individuals including members of the elite, prostitutes, and gladiators.

Etrsucan Pompeii

We will bring attention to a sacred place, a few hundred metres from the southern walls of Pompeii, known as Fondo Iozzino after the owner of the land where it first came to light in 1960. On a little hillock (20m above sea level) overlooking the valley of the Sarno river, the sanctuary was situated along the road which led from the city to the port. In a simple rectangular precinct delimited by a pappamonte (the local tuff) block wall, an open-air space with altars and large areas was used for sacrifices and offerings to the gods. The new excavations (2014-2018) reveal themselves to be of great importance, and from several points of view: both for the definition of cult practice, and for reconstructing the history of the most ancient settlement. The rich dossier of Etruscan inscriptions becomes fundamental in the attempt to define the components which have contributed to the urban structure of the Vesuvian city, as well as the cultural framework - strongly marked by phenomena of mobility and migration, as we have seen - within which it takes place.

Myths of Pompeii

Since their rediscovery in the early 18th century, Pompeii and other cities destroyed, yet paradoxically preserved by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, have consistently been presented as time capsules where we can most directly experience the daily lives of ancient Romans.  But for more than three centuries, the extraordinary finds from the Vesuvian cities have not only served as windows to the past, but also functioned as mirrors of the present, as moderns have consistently retrojected onto them ever-evolving contemporary concerns.  This presentation examines several ideas that have shaped our view of Pompeii and its inhabitants: as the archetype of disaster, whether natural or man-made, and thus the immediate comparison for all subsequent calamities, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 9/11, and others; as deserving their fate on account of some sin, whether erotic excess, gluttony, violence, greed, or paganism. Even the seemingly well-attested date of the eruption and the bodily experiences of its victims (and how we experience them) require critical re-examination, lest we overenthusiastically superimpose contemporary values onto the distant past.

About Programs at the Ancient Art Council

Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.


August 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM - 3:00 pm (PDT)

Symposium | Convivium: AD 79: When Time Froze in Pompeii

This lecture will be live streamed on Zoom. An e-confirmation with a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.

Presented by Professor Massimo Osanna, Director General of Museums in Italy, Ministry of Culture; Dr. Paul Roberts, Sackler Keeper of the Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Anthropology, University of Oxford; Dr. Joanne Berry, Associate Professor, Classics, Swansea University; and Dr. Kenneth Lapatin, Curator of Antiquities, The J. Paul Getty Museum undefined


This program is free and open to the public; registration is required.

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