In 1860, an archaeologist tried pouring plaster into holes that were being discovered as Pompeii was excavated. The holes turned out to be cavities left by the long-decomposed victims. The haunting casts are rough, like loosely wrapped mummies. A woman lies on her belly with her hands over her face. A man collapses on a stairway. A dog writhes in agony at the end of a leash. Two women nestle together. Are they companions or just thrown together by tragedy? The sculptures put you there for their final, desperate, heartbreaking moments.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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