By Brennon Dixson
Signal Staff Writer
Before it was buried in the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the Roman city of Pompeii was known as a place of art, culture and beauty, and it remains so to this very day, according to two College of the Canyons experts.
More than 1,900 years later, we still know little about the Roman city, said Kevin Anthony, chair of the college’s hotel and restaurant management program. “It’s an ongoing discovery, because they’re continuing to excavate the site, so the story keeps evolving.”
Despite attending school in Rome and having visited nine times, Anthony said he’s still captivated with the archaeological site.
“For me, I’m fascinated with finding out who these people were, how were their lives like ours and what can we learn from that?” he said.“That’s what fascinated me on this journey.”
Anthony and his peer hope to shed light on some of their questions and more when they take the stage for their scholarly presentation, “Pompeii: Life and Art.”
The free event is sponsored by the College of the Canyons Foundation and will occur at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.
With the use of photos and maps, McCaffrey and Anthony hope to offer a visual narrative of Pompeii and a detailed analysis of the Roman style wall paintings, frescoes and friezes that continues to awe today.
“For me, it’s interesting because you get to look back at the way people lived their lives, including their values, experiences, ideals and how it compares to ours today,” Anthony said. “It’s going to be a fascinating journey.”
Most of the people who travel to the thousand-year old city only get to see the tourist destinations, Anthony said, “but we have Google Earth so we’ll go to all of the important locations,” such as Villa of Mysteries — a well-preserved suburban home on the outskirts of Pompeii that features famous frescos and other unique pieces.
“Pompeii is a compelling place,” Anthony said. “If you’ve been there, it’s a place you want to go back to.
You can always learn something new and different. It seems like things are worn down, but that’s where they walked, and lived,” and it offers a path for historians to learn how the citizens lived life.
The idea is to look at the ancient pieces and determine what purpose they used them for, McCaffrey said. “How does it compare to how we use it today?
We use art in business, advertising and for many other purposes, and it seems as though Pompeii used it similarly, McCaffrey said. “Like us, they enjoyed their culture to be visual.”
McCaffrey encourages all to come to the presentation because you’re bound to take a useful bit of knowledge home.
“The things that students learn to do in class, like perspective light and shadow, all have their origins in Pompeii and wall painting,” McCaffrey said. The art there is so well-preserved that it remains fresh, vibrant, “and remarkably kind of sophisticated.”
Learn more on Wednesday, or contact the College of the Canyons Foundation and Cindy Biehahn at (661) 362-3737 for more information.