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Narcissus Fresco, Pompeii

Narcissus Fresco, Pompeii


Magnificent fresco depicting Narcissus found at Pompeii

After almost two millennia, the ruins of Pompeii still continue to astound us with its rich archaeological legacy. Following the incredible discoveries of last year, the ancient Roman site has now revealed a magnificent fresco depicting the mythological character of Narcissus gazing at his own reflection. A rather popular trope found in many Classical artworks, the narrative of Narcissus falling in love with his own reflection gives rise to the oft-used term ‘narcissism’.

Pompeii Superintendent Massimo Osanna said –

…the whole ambience is pervaded by the theme of ‘joie de vivre’, beauty and vanity, underscored also by the figures of maenads and satyrs who, in a sort of Dionysian courtship dance, accompanied the visitors inside the public part of the ancient house. It is a deliberately luxurious, and probably dating back to the last years of the colony, as is testified by the extraordinary state of conservation of the colours.

This particular discovery was made at the Regio V, the northeastern section of the Pompeii archaeological park that still retains its fair share of mysteries due to relative archaeological inactivity (at the specific site) for the last 50 years. In fact, this particular zone revealed another famous mythological trope – via a fresco depicting Jupiter taking the form of a swan to impregnate Spartan queen Leda. The archaeologists responsible for the find, said –

Refined decorations of the fourth style characterise the entire Room of Leda. Delicate floral ornamental elements, interspersed with griffins and cornucopia, flying cherubs, still lifes and scenes of animals fighting abound. The harmony of these precious designs extended up to the ceiling, which collapsed in ruins under the weight of the volcanic stones called lapilli, but the fragments have been recovered by restorers who will put them back together.

The researchers further added –

Also very interesting, in the atrium of Narcissus, is the still visible trace of a staircase that led to the floor above, but above all the discovery in the space of a the stairwell, which was used as a store room, of a dozen glass containers, eight amphorae and a bronze funnel. Then, there is a bronze ‘situla’ (container for liquids) which was discovered next to the impluvium.


A Fresco of Narcissus Has Been Discovered Among the Ruins of Pompeii

A rcheologists have made another major artistic discovery amid the ruins of ancient Pompeii, finding a well-preserved fresco depicting the Greek mythological figure of Narcissus.

The Guardian reports that the fresco was discovered in the atrium of a house where an earlier excavation yielded another fresco painting portraying the eroticized Greek myth of Leda and the Swan.

Narcissus, who according to the myth was so mesmerized by his own beauty that he fell in love with his reflection and died from desire burning inside him, was reportedly a popular subject of art in the first-century Roman city.

&ldquoThe beauty of these rooms has led us to modify the project and continue the excavation,&rdquo said the site&rsquos director, Alfonsina Russo.

&ldquoIn the future this will allow us to open at least part of this domus to the public,” Russo said, according to the Guardian. Its excavation has been possible in the context of the broader intervention of stabilization and re-profiling of the excavation fronts, overseen by the Great Pompeii Project.&rdquo

The eruption of Mounts Vesuvius in 79 A.D. destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, near present-day Naples, and killed more than 2,000 people. Pompeii draws nearly four million visitors per year, making it one of the world’s most visited archaeological sites.

In 2013, UNESCO threatened to list Pompeii as a world heritage site in peril unless Italian authorities improved efforts to preserve it.


Archaeologists in Pompeii find fresco of narcissus in ‘extraordinary’ condition

On Thursday, the mythological figure of Narcissus re-emerged to the public from his perch on a wall in Pompeii, where archaeologists announced they had uncovered a remarkably well-preserved fresco depicting his story: The hunter who fell in love with his reflection in a pool.

The fresco was unearthed in a home where, last November, archaeologists excavated a bedroom fresco of Greek mythology, the rape of Leda by the god Zeus in the form of a swan. Both works survived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, which buried the Roman city of Pompeii in fire, pumice and ash.

Alfonsina Russo, the director of the excavation, said in a statement that “the beauty of these rooms” had caused the archaeologists to change their plans and work on the room and its surroundings. In the process, she said, they found the new fresco in the atrium, a part of the house where wealthy Romans would have conducted business.

The fresco probably dated to “the last years of the colony,” Massimo Osanna, the site’s director general, said, citing the “extraordinary preservation” of the image’s colours.

In the fresco, Narcissus reclines by a pool, his face damaged but looking downward toward the water, where his greenish reflection stares back. A winged figure who may be Eros, the Greek god of love, stands nearby, as does a dog — tugging in vain at Narcissus’ garment, unable to pull him away.

Osanna said that the decorations around the room were “pervaded by the theme of the joy of living, of beauty and of vanity.” Other mythological figures, like cupids, maenads and satyrs, also appeared in the public part of the house “as though part of a Dionysian retinue,” he said, referring to the Greek god of wine and revelry.

In the atrium where the Narcissus fresco stands, the archaeologists also found the trace of stairs leading to an upper floor and the remains of glass containers, a bronze funnel and eight amphorae, the ancient vessels for olive oil, wine or other goods. Russo said the team hopes to open “at least part” of the home to the public.

The opulence of the home suggested it was “a grand residence with a wealthy owner,” said Sophie Hay, an archaeologist at the University of Cambridge who has studied Pompeii and was not part of the excavation.

Around the beginning of the millennium, Hay said, Greek myths were made popular by the poet Ovid. “In Pompeii it became fashionable to depict the myths in frescoes,” she said.

In Ovid’s telling of Narcissus, he is a preternaturally handsome young man who is predicted to live a long life so long as he never catches sight of himself. A nymph named Echo falls in love with him — and Narcissus rejects her. She retreats to a cave, eventually fading to only a voice.

Narcissus’ rejection of Echo and other suitors angers the goddess Nemesis, who arranges it so that he spots his own reflection in a pool. He, too, falls hopelessly in love, unable to touch his mirror image in the water, and like Echo he wastes away. Only Narcissus appears in the newly found fresco.

The excavations are in a part of Pompeii at the edge of the site and vulnerable to collapse, which threatens the archaeological artifacts below, Hay said. The unearthed fresco follows several other recent finds at Pompeii, including a horse covered in pumice and ash, an elaborate shrine embedded in a wall, and the skeleton of a man who seemed to have been crushed by a flying boulder, but probably was not.


A Fresco of Narcissus Has Been Discovered Among the Ruins of Pompeii

Archeologists have made another major artistic discovery amid the ruins of ancient Pompeii, finding a well-preserved fresco depicting the Greek mythological figure of Narcissus.

The Guardian reports that the fresco was discovered in the atrium of a house where an earlier excavation yielded another fresco painting portraying the eroticized Greek myth of Leda and the Swan.

Narcissus, who according to the myth was so mesmerized by his own beauty that he fell in love with his reflection and died from desire burning inside him, was reportedly a popular subject of art in the first-century Roman city.

“The beauty of these rooms has led us to modify the project and continue the excavation,” said the site’s director, Alfonsina Russo.

“In the future this will allow us to open at least part of this domus to the public,” Russo said, according to the Guardian. Its excavation has been possible in the context of the broader intervention of stabilization and re-profiling of the excavation fronts, overseen by the Great Pompeii Project.”

The eruption of Mounts Vesuvius in 79 A.D. destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, near present-day Naples, and killed more than 2,000 people. Pompeii draws nearly four million visitors per year, making it one of the world’s most visited archaeological sites.

In 2013, UNESCO threatened to list Pompeii as a world heritage site in peril unless Italian authorities improved efforts to preserve it.


Who was Narcissus?

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter - born from the river god Cephissus and a nymph named Liriope.

He was said to be impossibly handsome, but did not pursue any love interest presented to him - leaving behind a trail of devastated suitors.

One was said to have been a nymph named Echo who after being harshly rejected, was left in heartbroken despair. Afterwards she paced alone around nature for the rest of her life, gradually fading to an echo.

As punishment, a deity of revenge was then said to have led Narcissus to a pool of water where he found his own reflection.

He is said to have become so enamoured with himself that he stared at his own appearance until he died.

The mythological figure was very popular within Roman art.

He is also where the term narcissism comes from - meaning an excessive interest in oneself.

It was first popularised as a psychological term by Sigmund Freud in the 20th Century.


Pompeii dig uncovers well-preserved Narcissus fresco

The site's general director says the myth of Narcissus, mirroring himself in the water, was a "recurring theme" in Pompeii.

By Ajay Nair, news reporter

Thursday 14 February 2019 22:36, UK

Archaeologists have discovered a fresco in an ancient home in Pompeii, portraying mythological hunter Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.

The find was made in the atrium of a house along with another fresco depicting a sensual scene between the Roman god Jupiter disguised as a swan and Spartan queen Leda.

The Italian site's general director Massimo Osanna said the myth of Narcissus, mirroring himself in the water, was a "recurring theme for Pompeii".

"The appearance is languid, a feature which comes back in all of those characters who have something in common with the Gods' world or with beauty," he said.

"Endymion [a mythological king] is in the same pose, for example, it's a very topical theme."


Pompeii dig uncovers ancient atrium with fresco portraying Narcissus — mythological hunter who fell in love with his own reflection

MILAN — Archaeologists have discovered a fresco in an ancient Pompeii residence that portrays the mythological hunter Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.

The discovery announced Thursday is in the atrium of a house where a fresco was found late last year depicting a sensual scene between the Roman god Jupiter disguised as a swan and Leda, a queen of Sparta from Greek mythology.

Pompeii director Alfonsina Russo said that the "beauty of these rooms" has prompted officials to continue to uncover more treasures so that one day the house can be at least partially opened to the public.

Officials noted archaeologists also found inside the ancient atrium a dozen glass containers, eight terracotta vases and a bronze funnel in a space underneath a staircase.


Archaeologists Have Discovered A 'Deliberately Luxurious' Fresco Of Narcissus In Pompeii House

Archaeologists have just discovered an opulent fresco of Narcissus, which is still in extraordinary condition inside of a newly excavated house in Pompeii.

As the Guardian reported, the discovery of the Narcissus fresco was officially announced to the public on Thursday, and the painting was found within the atrium of a majestic home in the Regio V district, where archaeologists last November also recovered a fresco depicting Leda and the Swan, which was taken straight out of Greek mythology.

As site director Alfonsina Russo noted, it was the breathtaking beauty of this Pompeii home that convinced archaeologists to continue with their excavations, especially as the house had already yielded so many treasures.

The rich details of the fresco itself are tremendous, and in it, Narcissus can be seen reclining languidly beside a jade-colored pool with his reflection, according to tradition, gazing lovingly back.

A small winged creature can also be spotted beside Narcissus, which archaeologists surmise may be Eros, who is trying his hardest to distract the hunter and pull him away from his bewitching reflection in the pool. Next to Eros is a dog, who is also attempting to pull Narcissus away from the water while he digs impatiently at the hunter's bright red clothing.

Archaeologists said they uncovered a remarkably well-preserved fresco depicting the story of Narcissus, the hunter who fell in love with his reflection in a pool https://t.co/piomWhQo6R

&mdash The New York Times (@nytimes) February 15, 2019

Because of the astounding richness and elegance of this Pompeii home, Sophie Hay, from the University of Cambridge archaeology department, believes that it was once "a grand residence with a wealthy owner."

With the poet Ovid bringing Greek myths to the Roman world, Pompeii residents were deeply enthralled with this figure, and according to ANSA, Pompeii Superintendent Massimo Osanna explained that Narcissus was an extremely common theme within the artistic community of this city, describing how with a fresco such as this one "the whole ambience is pervaded by the theme of joie de vivre."

The most recent excavations in Pompeii, which have revealed the stunning fresco of Narcissus, are in a location very close to the edge of the site which is particularly prone to collapse, but if all goes according to plan, part of this area may be open to the public at a later date.


Narcissus Fresco, Pompeii - History

A fresco depicting Narcissus gazing at himself has emerged from an excavation at the Pompeii archaeological site near Naples in southern Italy, administrators announced Thursday.

Archaeologists discovered the fresco in the atrium of a richly decorated home, in whose bedroom a fresco depicting Leda and the Swan was unearthed in November 2018.

"A part of the dwelling's atrium (has been) brought to light, with vividly coloured walls and a fresco of Narcissus at the centre of one of them, in which he sees himself reflected in the water, enraptured by his own image, according to classical iconography," the Pompeii Archaeological Park said in a statement.

"The beauty of these rooms, which the initial discoveries had already made evident, has led us to modify the project and continue the excavation to bring the Leda room and the atrium behind it to light," Pompeii Archaeological Park Director Alfonsina Russo said in a statement.

"In the future (we will) open at least part of this domus to the public," she added.

The entire Leda room is characterised by sophisticated decorations, with delicate floral embellishments interspersed by griffins with cornucopia, winged cupids, still lifes, and scenes of combat between animals, Pompeii archaeologists said.

"The extraordinary discoveries of this site continue," stated former Pompeii Archaeological Park director Marco Osanna, who is overseeing the dig.

"The scene of the myth of Narcissus, well known and present elsewhere at Pompeii, is presented in the atrium of the house. The entire room is pervaded by the theme of the joy of living, of beauty and of vanity, which is further underlined by the figures of maenads and satyrs who accompanied visitors inside the public part of the house, as though part of a Dionysian retinue," Osanna said in a statement.

"This decoration was intentionally luxurious, and probably dated to the last years of the colony, as indicated by the extraordinary preservation state of the colors," Osanna added.

The site of the ancient Roman town, which was preserved in lava after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in the year 79 AD, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


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