Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Shelley Hales and Joanna Paul

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569366

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199569366.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 February 2020

Making History

Making History

Pliny's Letters to Tacitus and Angelica Kauffmann's Pliny the Younger and his Mother at Misenum

Chapter:
(p.48) 4 Making History
Source:
Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today
Author(s):

Victoria C. Gardner Coates

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199569366.003.0004

A first-hand account of Vesuvius' eruption in 79 CE has survived in the form of two letters by Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the event from his uncle's villa at Misenum. Pliny's physical presence on the Bay of Naples in late August of 79 CE has lent his letters a canonical authority, and they have functioned in the modern era as a sort of window through which to witness the eruption. This chapter proposes that, rather than being the last word in describing the eruption, Pliny stands as the first in a long and distinguished tradition of re-creating it in the service of formal history — a tradition that 1,700 years later inspired one of the quintessential history painters of the era, the Swiss Angelica Kauffmann, to compose the Pliny the Younger and his Mother at Misenum, now at Princeton. It is argued that the letters and painting in question are unified by more than the standard relationship between an ancient text and a modern image. Both Pliny and Kauffmann had a vested interest in making history, which was something of a leap for this particular author and artist.

Keywords:   Vesuvius, volcanic eruption, Pliny the Younger, letters, formal history, Swiss painters, Angelica Kauffmann, painting

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .