Background on the Painting

The painting is now hanging on a wall in the Museo Nazionale (National Museum) in Naples, but once it was actually part of a wall in a Pompeian house, the House of Gavius Rufus (VII.2.16). Its dimensions are .97 m. in height and .88 m. in width.

This is a fresco, a painting made on the damp plaster of a wall. [For a more detailed discussion of what a fresco is, click here.] After excavation, this picture was cut from the wall to which it originally belonged. In other words, it has been removed from its original setting. These days we are interested in knowing as much as we can about the context of a painting. What kind of a room was it in? What did the rest of the wall look like? What were the other figural scenes in the room? Was there any thematic connection among the figural paintings in the room? While these are interesting and important questions for understanding the setting in which this painting was seen, they take us further along in our analysis than I would like to go with this painting, at least for now.

If you want to follow some of the other lines of investigation, use your browser to go back. Then follow the links. Otherwise, jump to the analysis of the painting.

Analysis of the Painting.


Copyright 1998 by John J. Dobbins, all rights reserved
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Last Modified: Tuesday, 30-March-98 12:00:00 EDT