Beauty and meaning in a Roman villa’s paintings

Nobody knows who the villa belonged to except that they were wealthy, Roman, and keen to dazzle guests with their lavish residence on the flanks of Mount Vesuvius.  Not far from Pompeii in the town of Torre Annunziata, the 1st century villa was consumed by lava in the eruption of 79, an eruption so violent that it altered … Continue reading Beauty and meaning in a Roman villa’s paintings

Malawi’s Rock art

Moses Mkumpha is a quiet man with unrushed movements and a thorough approach.  Watching him dust a basket and meticulously bag every strand that broke off, it was clear that he had the perfect temperament for a conservator.  And listening to the respect with which he spoke about the history contained in Malawi's rock art, the ruins … Continue reading Malawi’s Rock art

Peering inside Myanmar’s earliest stupas

This time-worn cover of a relic chamber is another mesmerizing work on display At the Met in "Lost Kingdoms."   It was found inside a stupa at Sri Ksetra, a 1,500-year old site we visited in 2012.  It is in ruinous state, so much so the World Monuments Fund added it to its endangered list.  But it has … Continue reading Peering inside Myanmar’s earliest stupas

Somewhere between sculpture and architecture — even landscape

They're sculptures, but you walk through them and experience them the way you experience a building.  I'm talking about the work of Richard Serra, whose  "Junction" and "Cycle" are -- what? on view? open? available for hiking, the way gorges carved by time and the elements are?  -- at Gagosian Gallery in NY.