Kings Visualization Lab in London under the directorship of Richard Beacham generated the first virtual model. Bettina Bergmann, professor at Mount Holyoke College, provided the input for placement and verification of all the frescoes. The virtual model by KVL was a thorough and well-researched piece of scholarly work in terms of layout, dimensional accuracy, and adherence to verifiable conditions. But what should a virtual model or computer reconstruction achieve? It should be as accurate as possible, using all available information and materials. and reflect current research, but it should not try to create something that did not originally exist. That being said, a computer model can be a useful tool, introducing new possibilities that can lead to fresh insights and a clearer understanding of the original.
My own investigation shown here, in collaboration with Bettina Bergmann, was to go beyond the basic virtual model of a factual reconstruction and try to recreate a setting and context that had a highly emotive quality, to somehow create a reflection of life with a two-dimensional image. Such an image has the potential to suggest an
inhabitable world with a combination of light, space, and material. In the case of the villa at Boscoreale, the reconstruction realizes the frescoes within their rooms and sets those rooms within the overall context of the villa.
These are the most recent iterations of an ongoing recreation of the rooms, whose frescoes are today seen at the Metropolitan Museum and elsewhere. The goal was to recreate, to the fullest degree possible, the ambiance of the rooms decorated with vivid frescoes and their settings both within the villa interior and the exterior landscape, when possible. The views of the peristyle serve to locate the rooms within the larger context of the villa. An attempt to imagine the lighting effects, both in daylight and (in the case of rooms G and M and the peristyle) at night, reveals some of the ways that the appearance of the frescoes changes depending upon the time of day. In order to achieve the most accurate and realistic lighting effects and textures, sophisticated rendering software has been used.