Villa of Papyri is also famous for the incredible number of statues in marble and bronze recovered during the Bourbon excavations. It is indeed the largest collection of ancient sculptures come to light from the Vesuvian underground and more broadly from the Roman world.
It consists of a hundred sculptures in marble and bronze. The splendid state of preservation is especially due to the dynamics of the burial, that in 79 A.D. trapped these objects in a very tough layer of volcanic material, at about 25 meters from the current planking level.
The collection consists of 65 bronzes and 28 marble statues of which 82 are now in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, in rooms dedicated exclusively to the discoveries of the villa of the Papyri. The majority are statues, small statues and busts, and even small sculpture groups and herms.
The largest number of sculpture was found in the atrium, in the square peristyle, in the tablinium and in other areas of the villa.
This vast sculptural complex is just a part of the entire collection. Other statues are still buried under the volcanic material that covers spaces below the villa and its East area, never reached by the Bourbon tunnels.
The typology of statues that presents groups of philosophers Hellenistic sovereigns, leaders, and divinities seem to be compatible with the decorative program of a building that housed a school of philosophy or a luxurious villa, where history and philosophy occupied an important place in the passions and interests of the wealthy owner. That explains the presence of Epicuro’s bust and the ones of Ermaco of Mytilene and Metrodoro of Lampsaco, Epicuro’s close associates.
Thanks to the laser scanner technique some of the most famous and important statues of the villa were reproduced in 3D, as shown on the screens in this corridor.