Erich Lessing

For young aristocrats, a holiday on the Neapolitan coast offered a welcome respite from stern Roman fortitude, which frowned on idleness and sensual pleasures. In this fresco from Pompeii’s “House of the Chaste Lovers,” a villa named for the lovers kissing in the fresco’s central scene, two young couples dine outdoors under a canopy. Behind the couples lurks an older man with a staff, presumably the father of one of the young men. He appears ready to deliver a scolding—or beating—to his wayward son.