FRESCO FROM POMPEII.
THIS fresco was discovered in 1826, at Pompeii. It is supposed that the house where it was found was one of those places of debauchery called lupanaria. In one of the principal rooms of the house may be seen a painting representing some youths and courtezans abandoning to the pleasures of the table and to play: one of the young men, the hero of the fresco we are describing, heated, doubtless, by the fumes of wine, is pursuing a woman. His gestures leave no doubt as to the nature of his intentions; but his fair companion, alarmed at the sight of the prodigious instrument with which he menaces her, seizes her lover by the throat, and endeavours to push him back: she even seems on the point of hurling at his head a vase which she holds in her right hand.
The drawing of this fresco presents several imperfections, and the youth's left arm, though meant to be foreshortened, is evidently not long enough.
We mentioned in our Introduction that the Greeks called these sort of paintings grylli, and the Romans libidines. They were designated by a
more emphatic expression when they were more than usually indecorous, viz., Spinthria (debauchery), from σπινθὴρ, a spark. We shall henceforth make use of this term, as more appropriate to the paintings which remain to be described.