1st century a.c.
Mural - Archaeological Museum, Naples.
A masterpiece of early portraiture, created with an extraordinary sensitivity, in which many critics have identified the face of Safu, tragic poetess who ended her life by committing suicide. No matter the identity of this fragile and delicate girl, the truth is that this painting ranks among the most important masterpieces found at Pompeii.
The pose of the girl, her lost glance, the quill next to her lips, is of an extreme gentleness, a testament of the Greek sensitivity that clearly influenced the Roman Art. The face, gorgeous despite the logical failures of drawing, shows an expression of meditation, searching inspiration. Although the work has suffered many damages throughout the centuries, the colours are still well preserved, reaching extraordinary levels of ability in the curls and fingers. We would have to wait almost a millenium to find, in all western painting, a picture with a comparable psychological penetration.
Text: G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com