FRESCO FROM POMPEII.
THE subject of this fresco is as ridiculous as the drawing is incorrect. How could a man, whom it is not possible to confound with a rural divinity, be thus in the open fields, in a complete state of nudity? or would he have dreamt, in such a place, of putting his mistress in the state, by removing her single garment? In this painting probability receives too great a shock, added to which the woman is twisting her neck in a horrible fashion to receive her lover's kisses.
These kind of obscene paintings (Spinthriæ) are frequently referred to by Latin authors. Here are two examples taken at random:--
The hand that first in naked colours traced
Groups of loose lovers on walls that once were chaste
And full exposed, broad burning on the light
The shapes and postures that abash the sight
Made artless minds in crime's refinements wise,
And flash'd enlightening vice on virgin eyes." 1
"Looking up at a certain painting, in which was represented how Jove was said once to have sent a golden shower into the bosom of Danae." 2
105:1 PROPERTIUS, Elegies, Book i. 6 (translated by Elton).
105:2 TERENCE, The Eunuch, act iii., sc. 5.