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Pompeii

1855 Robert S. Duncanson Born: New York 1821 Died: Detroit, Michigan 1872 oil on canvas 21 x 17 in. (53.3 x 43.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Dr. Richard Frates 1983.95.158 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


Gallery Label

Robert Duncanson's patrons in Cincinnati sponsored his first trip to Europe in 1853, allowing him to participate in a rite of passage for American artists. He compared his skills with those of European painters and claimed, "Of all the landscapes I saw in Europe...I do not feel discouraged." Duncanson imagined Pompeii around the time of its first excavation in 1747, showing men in eighteenth-century costume admiring the ruins and searching for buried treasure. Such fanciful depictions were popular among nineteenth-century American patrons, who made the ancient city at the foot of Vesuvius a stop on their grand tours.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - detail - column

Architecture Exterior - ruins

Cityscape - Italy - Pompeii

Figure(s) in exterior

Landscape - phenomenon - volcano

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Robert S. Duncanson

Born: New York 1821 Died: Detroit, Michigan 1872

More works in the collection by
Robert S. Duncanson