Erich Lessing

The only surviving image of Mount Vesuvius found in the ruins of Pompeii appears on the wall of a vast house excavated in 1879—the 18th centennial of the volcano’s eruption. The aptly named House of the Centennial was filled with frescoes that mixed naturalistic and mythological subjects in somewhat arbitrary ways. Here we see lifelike depictions of birds, a panther and a snake slithering towards an altar. The figure of Bacchus, a popular god in this city famed for its wine, can be seen on the left.