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The Last Days of Pompeii

James Hamilton

American Art

On View: Beaux-Arts Court, East, 3rd Floor
The devastation of Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E. was an object of popular fascination in the mid-eighteenth century. At that time the volcano began a sustained period of renewed activity. Simultaneously, archaeologists began excavations of the ancient buried city.

The theme appealed greatly to Romantic painters on both sides of the Atlantic. European by birth, James Hamilton had a taste for the philosophical concept of the Sublime and an obsession with the cyclical nature of societies and civilizations. He applied these interests to the Roman Empire in The Last Days of Pompeii.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1864
DIMENSIONS 59 15/16 x 48 1/16 in. (152.2 x 122 cm) frame: 69 1/2 x 57 1/2 x 4 in., 96 lb. (176.5 x 146.1 x 10.2 cm, 43.55kg)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed verso: "From Bulwers/ "The Last Days of Pompeii'/ Jas Hamilton/ Philada 1864"
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Beaux-Arts Court, East, 3rd Floor
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION James Hamilton (American, 1819-1878). The Last Days of Pompeii, 1864. Oil on canvas, 59 15/16 x 48 1/16 in. (152.2 x 122 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 55.138 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.138_SL3.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 55.138_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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