The entrance hall, with its encaustic mural representing peace
The bathroom next to the entrance hall
The grand salon
Just for a few seconds, before my eye roamed again, I was entranced by the way light, as only it can when reflected off moving water, trembled on the walls and the ceiling of Théodore Reinach's bedroom. We had walked slowly through each room and upstairs, iPhones in hand ready to capture everything we could, not quite overwhelmed but certainly slightly addled by the riches to be seen in this astonishingly beautiful house. And astonishing it is: not just because of the Romantic recreation of ancient Greece and to some extent of ancient Rome, or its Greek and Roman-inspired furniture (Mr Reinach's bed, actually a reproduction of a Roman bed found in Pompeii and displayed at the Archaeological Museum in Naples), but also because of its marble walls and encaustic murals, its thyrôreion, balaneion, gynaeceum, andron and triklinos, delectable columns, mosaic floors, stucco friezes, painted ceilings, polished bronze tabletop serving, as it would have in the ancient world, as a mirror, Roman-style "rain" shower, embroidered linen curtains, rotting and frayed though they are, chandeliers inspired by those in Hagia Sophia, electric lamps modeled after ancient oil lamps, Christophle silver vase based on the krater found with the Hildesheim Treasure and, finally - because this list could go on and on - a carrara marble altar bearing the inscription To an Unknown God.
It occurs to me, as I sort through the hundreds of photographs we took, how little one experiences from behind the lens - involvement at a remove, as it were - and how intrusive and misleading the desire to photograph everything can be. An end in itself, perhaps, using the world's wonders as background for our lives: as one sees with tourists everywhere, for there they are, grinning away in front of every monument, fountain, ruin, painting and statue, even posturing for the camera, as I saw last year in Florence, to appear to be holding David's dick.
All photographs by us except for the second - the bathroom next to the entrance hall - which is by M. Listri, from The Kérylos Villa, Beaux Arts magazine/TMM Editions, Paris.