Pompeii: young boys near the building of Eumachia
Oil on canvas
H. 34 cm; L. 42 cm
Indistinctly signed lower right
This warm and luminous Pompeian view is the work of a Danish artist around the middle of the 19th century. It can probably be placed in the entourage of Constantin Hansen (1804-1880), with characteristics that can be found in Hansen's painted studies: relatively schematic limbs, notably the legs and feet; a "jute" treatment of the paste used for the mineral elements: facade of buildings and architectures, stelae, etc ... Another point of connection is found in the presence of two young boys, who often animate Hansen's compositions. He also stayed on numerous occasions in Pompeii. The two characters, surprisingly decked out in caps that are more Nordic than Neapolitan, have just filled a barrel at the so-called Abundance fountain with water; perhaps they will take it to a nearby archaeological excavation site? Their vests, as well as their rather "relaxed" attitude, suggest that they do not suffer too much from the heat which nevertheless seems overwhelming, in view of the light which hits the walls. The scene takes place at the southeast corner of the Eumachia building, at the intersection of the rue de l'Abondance (a large thoroughfare that crosses Pompeii from west to east) and the small lane of Eumachia, which opens up a perspective towards Vesuvius, to the north. The building of Eumachia, itself located to the south-east of the Forum of Pompeii, was discovered around 1820; it had been built under Tiberius, in the last years of the 1st century BC, to serve as a Stock Exchange, a place where the merchants and traders of Pompeii met. It takes its name from Eumachia, daughter of Lucius and public priestess, who had it brought up at his own expense, according to an inscription on one of the facades. As for the fountain, its name comes from the figure holding a cornucopia, carved on the cippus (the stele) placed to the left of its basin.
Photos of the painting with its frame on request.