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 Sappho, a Greek lyric poet from the 6th century b.C whose life and works are full of mystery. Whatever the identity of this fragile and delicate girl may be, the truth is that this painting ranks among the most important masterpieces found in Pompeii.
The pose of the girl, her lost glance, the quill next to her lips, are of an extreme gentleness, a testament of Greek sensitivity that clearly influenced the Roman Art. Her face -gorgeous despite the logical failures of drawing- shows an expression of meditation, as looking for 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. Delicate and exquisite, the portrait is remarkable for its psychological penetration.
Text: G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com