Skip Navigation

A Shower of Ashes upon Ottaviano

Charles Caryl Coleman

American Art

Best known for the more highly finished technique of his oils, Charles Caryl Coleman here employed the spontaneous medium of pastel to record the aftermath of the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius, not far from the artist’s home on the island of Capri, in Italy. Coleman’s depiction of the event closely resembles period photographs of the climax of the disaster on April 7, when lava fountains and earthquakes decimated the small, nearby town of Ottaviano.
MEDIUM Pastel on gray-blue laid paper, mounted to board
DATES April 14, 1906
DIMENSIONS image: 10 9/16 x 8 7/16 in. (26.8 x 21.4 cm) Mounting board: 18 1/2 x 16 3/8 in. (47 x 41.6 cm) frame: 21 5/8 × 18 3/4 × 1 1/2 in. (54.9 × 47.6 × 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Watermark, lower right quadrant of an O shape inside of a larger O
SIGNATURE Signed, lower left, in blue: "CCC [in monogram] / 10 A.M. / April 14 - 1906"
CREDIT LINE John B. Woodward Memorial Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Charles Caryl Coleman (American, 1840–1928). A Shower of Ashes upon Ottaviano, April 14, 1906. Pastel on gray-blue laid paper, mounted to board, image: 10 9/16 x 8 7/16 in. (26.8 x 21.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, John B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 20.656 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 20.656_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 20.656_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.