“The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples" will travel exclusively to Oklahoma City Museum of Art, from June 26 to Oct. 17, 2021. Archivio Fotografico del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK.- Beginning June 26, visitors to the OKCMOA will be transported to ancient Rome through the incredible wall paintings, or frescoes, of Pompeii and Herculaneum. “The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples” highlights the rarely explored world of the ancient Roman painter and offers a glimpse into their processes, materials and techniques through over 80 artifacts and artworks. Open through Oct. 17, this historic presentation of the art of ancient Rome will be presented exclusively at OKCMOA before returning to Europe.

In 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the seaside resort towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash and volcanic rock,” said Dr. Michael J. Anderson, OKCMOA president and CEO. “The eruption preserved Roman luxury villas and homes until excavations began in the 1700s. These excavations unearthed extensive and richly colored frescoes painted on the walls of homes and public buildings throughout the cities.”

Early in the excavations, many of the paintings were cut out of the walls and taken to museums,” Anderson continued. “It is incredibly rare for ancient paintings to survive into the present day, much less to be taken to a museum for display. We are thrilled to provide the incredible opportunity to be immersed in the day-to-day lives of the ancient Romans.”


 Danae and Perseo, 25-35 d.C., Pompeii, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Archivio Fotografico del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

“The Painters of Pompeii” highlights a seldom-seen medium--the Roman wall painting, which was prevalent in ancient Rome. The interiors of Roman buildings were sumptuously decorated with bold colors and designs that ranged in theme from mythology to landscapes to still lifes to architecture. Often, these paintings covered the entire wall, from floor to ceiling, and transported the viewer beyond the confines of the room.

This exhibition represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we are offering many ways to engage with these incredible works of art,” said Rosie May, the Museum’s director of curatorial affairs and audience engagement. “We are thrilled to welcome several world-renowned scholars of ancient Roman art and history to the Noble Theater beginning in July. In addition to the lecture series, we will also offer public exhibition tours throughout the summer.”


 The Three Graces, 25-35 d.C., Pompeii, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Archivio Fotografico del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

Staff-led public tours will be offered on select Fridays and Sundays throughout the exhibition and will provide conversation-based insights and close-looking experiences. Pre-registration is recommended and will begin June 29 at 10 a.m.

The lecture series will feature several of the most renowned scholars in the field of ancient Roman art and history. The series includes:

• “Pompeii: Myth and Reality,” by Kenneth Lapatin, Ph.D., Curator of Antiquities, The J. Paul Getty Museum

• “The Roman Artist at Work,” by John Clarke, Ph.D., Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor, Department of Art & Art History, University of Texas at Austin

• “Baths, Bars, and Boudoirs: Sex and Gender in Ancient Rome,” by Leslie Mechem, Lecturer of Classics (Retired), Skidmore College

• “Visions of Food at Pompeii,” by Serena Connolly, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Classics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

The Museum Store will also offer a selection of items inspired by Pompeii. In addition to an exhibition catalogue, books, prints and décor, seven local artists have created original works inspired by the exhibition that will be available for sale. The artists featured are Art Fusion (Tracey and Rick Bewley), Claudia Hunter, Joe Slack, Clint Stone, Jimmy Leach, Alice Wolf and William R. Struby.



Hercules and Omphale, 25-35 d.C., Pompeii, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di NapoliArchivio Fotografico del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.


Selene and Endymion 25-35 d.C., Herculanum, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di NapoliArchivio Fotografico del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.