Edited by Kenneth Lapatin
The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, the model for the Getty Villa in Malibu, is one of the world’s earliest systematically investigated archaeological sites. Buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, the Villa dei Papiri was discovered in 1750 and excavated under the auspices of the Neapolitan court. Never fully unearthed, the site yielded spectacular colored marble floors and mosaics, frescoed walls, the largest known ancient collection of bronze and marble statuary, intricately carved ivories, and antiquity’s only surviving library, with more than a thousand charred papyrus scrolls. For more than two and a half centuries, the Villa dei Papiri and its contents have served as a wellspring of knowledge for archaeological science, art history, classics, papyrology, and philosophy.
Buried by Vesuvius offers a sweeping yet in-depth view of all aspects of the site. Presenting the latest research, the essays in this authoritative and richly illustrated volume reveal the story of the Villa dei Papiri’s ancient inhabitants and modern explorers, providing readers with a multidimensional understanding of this fascinating site.
This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa June 26 to October 28, 2019.
Kenneth Lapatin is curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books and articles on ancient art and its modern reception, including Guide to the Getty Villa (Getty Publications, 2018), Luxus: The Sumptuous Arts of Greece and Rome (Getty Publications, 2015), Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World (Getty Publications, 2015), and The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection (Getty Publications, 2012).
“The definitive work on the Villa of the Papyri.”
—The Herculaneum Society
“The essays are short, informative and well written, and embrace a range of topics including the Herculaneum villa’s ancient context, its rediscovery in the eighteenth century, its contents (including what the catalogue heralds as “antiquity’s only surviving library”), recent excavations and hi-tech attempts to unwrap the carbonized texts.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“A major intellectual contribution in its own right.”
—The Burlington Magazine
“The book is easily accessible and free of jargon, thus making it useful for students and scholars alike. It is an enormous contribution to the literature on Herculaneum in general and on the Villa dei Papiri in particular, and will be a crucial source for all future research on these and related topics.”
—Bryn Mawr Classical Review
9 x 11 inches
276 color and 16 b/w illustrations
1 gatefold map
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum