Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wishing you a very happy, new year!

We'll get back to the progress of the Pompeii Room in the next posting. In the meantime, I hope you are able to extend the spirit of the season, and are enjoying New Year's Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Dear Blogging Friends,

For the past couple of years, I've been collecting antique glass ornaments that are all silver or gold pine cones. Here's a close-up of this year's tree — wouldn't it be interesting to know the stories these old ornaments could tell!?

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wishing You Happy Holidays!

In my last posting, I unveiled a dove to complete part of my Pompeian mural. And today I'm offering you this dove from my collection of ephemera. The red ribbon in the dove's beak reads, "May joy be around you." That's my wish for your holiday season and for the year to come. Thanks to all my blogging friends, and all the best in 2015!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Pompeii No.39: A Dove for Marcus Aurelius

Two postings ago, I revealed the primary wall of the Pompeii Room, finished above the green and red that could be considered a wainscoting.

Today, we'll look at the opposite wall, where I'll add a mourning dove on the ledge above Marcus Aurelius' portrait; it will complete that portion of the mural to the same degree.

Mosaic from, all others,  The Art of Pompeii  |  Magagnini  |  de Luca 
Doves were often depicted in Pompeian murals and mosaics. Doves mate for life and both the male and female build their nest. For the Pompeians, the dove represented love, friendship and care of the family. It was also associated with the goddess Venus.
I am not a birder, so as I researched the mourning dove, I looked at it with fresh eyes. What looks rather ordinary from a distance is actually almost opalescent at close range, and look at the beautiful blue ring around the eye!

click to enlarge
Here's the Marcus Aurelius corner, complete above the green bar. We'll be working on that green and red later (and if I had planned a little better, the green and red work would have been perfect for the Christmas season). But first, there's work to be done on that yellow section, to the right of the columns.

I hope you'll join me as the mural encompasses the kitchen door and inches towards the living room!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pompeii No.38: Gifts from Vesuvius
Recently, Allan and Peter – good friends and neighbors – traveled to Spain to visit with Peter's family. While there, they shared my blog with Peter's brother-in-law, Joan, who has visited Pompeii.

Joan is a very generous fellow, because he parted with four little gems that he had picked up in the rubble of Pompeii.

When they got home, Peter and Allan gave me these artifacts in the handsome presentation you see above. You can imagine how surprised and delighted I was, especially since I have never been to Pompeii!

The first item is a piece of pumice measuring approximately one inch. When Vesuvius erupted, there were two phases of the destruction, which lasted over two days. First, on the morning of August 24, 79 A.D., there was a tall column of material that shot up from Vesuvius and then fell like rain. This is named the Plinian phase, so-called after Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption at a distance and who left the only eye-witness account.

Light and small pumice like the one above rained for 18 hours, and while the pumice rain was not a direct threat to human life, it accumulated to probably more than eight feet, causing roofs to collapse and buildings to fill with the equivalent of heavy Styrofoam pellets.

By the morning of August 25, the residents still in Pompeii realized that the city was uninhabitable. There was a mass exodus, but for those who had remained, it was already too late. The second, or Peléan phase of eruption started. (Peléan is a reference to the observations of the 1902 eruption of Martinique's Mount Pelé.)

In that phase the 18-hour column collapsed and a glowing cloud of high-temperature gas and dust raced down Vesuvius at approximately 60 mph (100 km), killing anyone who remained in its path.

The second item is a piece of lava, shown above. Ironically, the rain of pumice and dust which initially destroyed Pompeii, also preserved the city against the lava that followed. This piece measures 1¼".

Finally, the third and fourth items are two mosaic pieces, each less than ½". Some mosaics were scattered to the winds, as the weight of the pumice destroyed ceilings, walls and floors.

I will be proud to permanently display these interesting and historic artifacts in the Pompeii Room when it is completed!

A 2018 Postscript: Archeologists have determined that the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii actually occured in mid-to-late October of 79 A.D., not August.