The Eruption of Vesuvius (Primary Title)

Pierre-Jacques Volaire, French, 1729 - ca. 1790 (Artist)

ca. 1780
oil on canvas
Unframed: 29 × 64 in. (73.66 × 162.56 cm)
Framed: 36 × 71 in. (91.44 × 180.34 cm)
The volcano Vesuvius, which destroyed the ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in 79 AD, was active again throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and excited intense interest. Artists throughout Europe travelled to southern Italy to observe and paint this marvel. Some recorded the eruptions to illustrate the principles of the new science of geology, while others simply painted picturesque scenes of this sublime natural event. The elegant onlookers in the foreground are mostly tourists rather than scientists.
Bequest of Dr. Bernard Samuels in memory of his mother, Kathleen Boone Samuels
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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