European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
Scene during the Eruption of VesuviusMade in France, Europe
Joseph Franque, French (active Naples), 1774 - 1833
Oil on canvas
E1972-3-1Purchased with the George W. Elkins Fund, 1972
LabelThis melodramatic scene of a family trying to escape the A.D. 79 eruption of Vesuvius, a volcano in southern Italy, was inspired by the report of a French archeologist excavating in Pompeii in 1813. "A mother fled, dragging after her a part of her family: two daughters, and an infant whom she clutched in vain against her breast. . . . The ash covered them, burying them all in the same tomb; their remains were mingled, and almost indistinguishable from one another." The report goes on to describe jewelry found with the remains, including the mother's earrings and the serpent ring worn by the standing girl.
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