Актуальные проблемы теории и истории искусства: сб. науч. статей. Вып. 9
Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art conference is an international academic forum held biannually by Lomonosov Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University, supported by major Russian museums. The conference takes place alternately in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In Saint Petersburg, the State Hermitage Museum acts as its permanent partner. In 2018, the conference is held in Moscow, with the State Tretyakov Gallery as partner museum. The conference is dedicated to a wide range of issues related to history and theory of visual arts and architecture, conservation and interpretation of Russian and international cultural heritage, and interaction between academic science and museum experience. The chronological scope of this interdisciplinary forum spans from prehistoric era to contemporary stage. The conference welcomes art historians, culture theorists, archaeologists, art conservators, museum practitioners, and other humanities scholars whose research areas include architecture, visual and decorative arts.
The entire Vesuvian region was hit by a seismic event of considerable intensity in 62 A.D. The news was reported by Tacitus and in more detail by Seneca. From the writings of Seneca it is clear that the urban centers most affected by the earthquake were Pompeii, Herculaneum, Nuceria and Neapolis.
It may seem strange that Stabiae is not mentioned on the list made by Seneca. The absence of explicit references should not be read as evidence of the absence of seismic activity in the Stabian area but should rather be understood as proof of the scarce attention paid by the ancient historiographers in the 1st century A.D. to a modestly sized town like Stabiae.
Furthermore, despite the absence of explicit references in the written sources, other minor earthquakes may have continued to afflict Stabiae as well as the entire region after 62 A.D.
The excavation campaigns conducted at Villa Arianna in the last decade have provided the starting pointand useful evidence for the discussion on the presence of reconstruction work within the housing complex, presumably resulting from the damage caused by seismic events preceding the eruption of 79 A.D.
Surprisingly, the 18th-century excavation reports are a good starting point. From a careful rereading of the excavation accounts, one can find valuable information about the discovery of objects, such as work tools typically used by masons and painters. Apparently, these objects seemed to the original excavators to be devoid of any value and were therefore destroyed or lost. Today, however, adopting a completely different methodological approach,these are of considerable importance for a more accurate understanding of Villa Arianna and of the reconstruction work in process. The archaeological evidence in situ and the data emerging during the excavation campaignsof recent years are even more abundant than those findings recorded in the 18th-century excavation reports.
The aim of the present study is to consolidate and summarize the archival data and the data from recent excavations. The picture which emerges from these observations is that of a residential complex, many parts of which were undergoing repair and restoration work in the years preceding the 79 A.D. eruption.
These repair and restoration works almost never achieved the same level of artistry of the interior decoration of the Julio-Claudian and the early Neronian ages, but were very often carried out using lower quality materials and an inferior technique. Although the villas were being maintained, the standard was lower, possibly because, among other reasons, the owners were uncertain about future seismic activity — since earthquakes were a common occurrence over the entire area in the period between 62 and 79 A.D.
While some research has been carried out on history of formation of Chinese and Japanese art collections in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, only a few studies explored a formation of Asian Art collections of the regional museums. While the history of collecting indicates that it was a complex and multi-layered process, there is a considerable number of Asian objects that are dated from the pre-revolutionary period. Among a number of different sources one is stand out—a Tea Road from China to Russia.
This study hypothesizes that a significant share of Asian objects that are preserved in collections of Russian museums that are located in towns and cities linked geographically and/or economically to the Tea Road could originate from the collections of the tea traders and because of this these collections could have similarities in structure and quality of the objects. Basing on a survey conducted in cooperation with the specialists in local museums of Yekaterinburg, Irbit, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, and Kyakhta, this research aims to distinguish art objects that went back to the pre-revolutionary collections of the tea traders and; to detect their provenance and to identify collectors.