Archaeologists continue to find beautiful new relics in Pompeii that were seemingly frozen in time after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE and have recently unearthed an enchanting and sensual fresco in a Pompeii bedroom which depicts a queen of Sparta and the god Jupiter, who has disguised himself as an exotic swan. The fresco is believed to have been inspired by a sculpture that was created in the 4th century BCE by Timotheos.
As Phys.org reported, depictions of Leda, who became pregnant after a dalliance with Jupiter in his swan disguise, was something of a popular theme in the homes of ancient residents in both Pompeii and Herculaneum, yet the fresco of the pair that was recently found in a bedroom is particularly important to Pompeii archaeological park director Massimo Osanna, as the painting of the goddess Leda was created so that it looks like her eyes are reaching out to meet yours the moment you step into the room.
“Leda watches the spectator with a sensuality that’s absolutely pronounced.”
Osanna also pointed out that the fresco in the Pompeii bedroom illustrated the Greek “myth of love, with an explicit sensuality in a bedroom where, obviously beside sleep, there could be other activities.”
Amazingly, the colors of the Pompeii fresco are still sharp and vivid, even after thousands of years, and the fresco itself was unearthed last week while officials were working to protect the city from further damage due to rains and also general wear and tear over the many years.
Archaeologists have found a fresco in an ancient Pompeii bedroom that depicts a sensual scene of the Roman god Jupiter, disguised as a swan, and a legendary queen of Sparta https://t.co/J5QvR0qics— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) November 21, 2018
The bedroom with the Pompeii fresco was discovered very close to the entrance of a luxurious and very upscale home, otherwise known as a domus, and this same home also had another fresco discovered inside of it only months ago.
The figure of Leda would have been very significant to Pompeii residents as she was reputed to have given birth to many different children of Zeus, who is the Greek counterpart of Jupiter. Leda was also impregnated by a king of Sparta, yet, in this case, the king was wholly mortal, unlike Jupiter or Zeus. Myths surrounding Leda note that she may even have been the mother of Helen of Troy, something that would have certainly been appealing to ancient Greeks and Romans.
Osanna has theorized that the homeowner who had the fresco of Jupiter and Leda painted in his bedroom was most likely a wealthy man who wanted to flaunt how cultured he was by allowing visitors to witness a myth in action on the walls of his house.
According to Osanna, the fresco that was discovered earlier this year along with the one found in the Pompeii bedroom with Leda and Jupiter may be carefully removed so “they can be protected and shown to the public.”