We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham Centre for Classical Reception

Epic, Roman painting and Pompeii in the 19th century

As part of an ongoing research project, Peter Heslin is investigating the way the Homeric poems were reinterpreted in Campanian wall painting. Virgil shows the influence of painting in his reception of Homer, and his own text in turn affected the way Roman painters represented scenes known from the Homeric poems. Many of the paintings that supply evidence for this fascinating interaction of art and text have been effaced by the passage of time and must be reconstructed from the sketchbooks of northern European visitors to Pompeii in the early nineteenth century. The preconceptions that these classically-educated visitors brought to their interpretation of the newly discovered paintings produced another encounter of art and text that is still contested today. This project is being funded by grants from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation and the Getty Research Institute.