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Plate XLIV.


p. 87


Width, 18 22/25 inches.


THIS fresco, found at Pompeii, is unquestionably, as regards merit of execution, one of the most remarkable of them all. We stated in our Introduction that obscene paintings entered at Rome into the domain of second-rate painters; but, making allowance for the decline of the art, it cannot be doubted that the author of this fresco must have been a very skilful artist for his time. Contrary to usage, we here find some expression in the features of the two actors: their attitude has nothing trivial; it has that natural character stripped of dignity which strikes and humiliates us, even at the moment when our imagination is fascinated by amorous desires. As is usual with natives of the South, the flesh-tints of the hero of this scene are of a very decided brown. The right arm of the woman, resting on her haunch, doubtless leaves something to be desired; but it is a foreshortening--a rock against which more than one modern painter has split.

A mere glance at this plate suffices us to guess the subject of it; and indeed it would be rather difficult to explain it in sober language.

Next: Plate XLV: Spinthria