A great exhibition project to recount the evocative power exerted by the archaeological site of Pompeii over artists and the European imagination, from the beginning of the excavations in 1748 to the dramatic air raid in 1943. This is Pompeii and Europe. 1748 – 1943, the exhibition curated by Massimo Osanna, Maria Teresa Caracciolo and Luigi Gallo which opens to the public on May 27 at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and simultaneously at the Amphitheater in Pompeii, ranking in importance and prestige with the program of events planned for Expo Milano 2015.

This overview is devised as a true journey, grand and complex, in which Antiquity engages in a dialogue with Modernity, and nature with the arts and archeology.

The first two stages of the exhibition layout, divided into four chronological sections, present more than 250 works, with ancient relics and modern masterpieces (paintings, drawings, collections of prints, architectural projects, photographs, sculptures, objects, books, and much else), from the greatest Italian and foreign museums, brought together for the occasion in the Salone della Meridiana of the Archaeological Museum in Naples. The continuous cultural connections reveal how Pompeii, with its buried ruins and its classicism, has fascinated artists from across Europe for almost two hundred years, from Ingres to Picasso, Normand, Le Corbusier, Moreau and Klee, influencing the taste of whole courts, in architecture and literature as in theater, music and aesthetics, as well as performing a fundamental role in the development of modern archeology.

The rediscovery of Pompeii was truly exceptional and revolutionary. The city’s everyday life, overwhelmed by the terrible eruption of 79 AD, is evoked and restored to light directly in the space of the amphitheater, where the second itinerary of the exhibition will unfold. Here, for the section “Stolen from death” curated by Massimo Osanna and Adele Lagi, 20 casts made by Giuseppe Fiorelli and his followers, revealing the imprints of the bodies of the unfortunate inhabitants of the city embedded in the volcanic material, are presented for the first time to the public after their recent restoration by the Superintendency. They are presented in an exhibit design by Francesco Venezia of great impact and evocative force, which is also conceived to complete the exhibition itinerary with the photographic exhibition curated by Massimo Osanna, Ernesto De Carolis and Grete Stefani. This offers selection of photographs, many never shown or published before, which testifies to the progress of the excavations between the nineteenth and twentieth century, offering visitors a visual and documentary contribution of extraordinary value that helps to reconstruct, with the rest of the exhibition, the reception and irradiation of the celebrated archaeological and cultural site. The exhibition will be open until November 2, 2015.