Sotheby's At Large

Art in the Shadow of Mount Vesuvius

When Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 A.D., the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, two thriving communities along the Bay of Naples, were swiftly subsumed by volcanic ash. Vesuvius returned to activity numerous times in the ensuing centuries, providing a dramatic, if menacing, vista for the artists who painted it. On the anniversary of the day Vesuvius exploded into history, we looked back at some of the ways it has been depicted in art.