The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov
The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov (1799-1852) depicts the destruction of this ancient city by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. In working on this piece between 1830 and 1833, the artists faithfully adhered to the account of eye-witness Pliny the Younger, a Roman historian. The artist emphasized that even in the face of the blind, uncontrollable whim of the elements, man can preserve his dignity.
I find that correct forms all harmonize with each other (particularly in statuary, where these pure forms are indispensable) ; but in painting, the artist can get closer to nature by means of colour, perspective, light and shade, and has therefore some justification for abandoning con ventional beauty of form; therefore I resolved to seek that presupposed variety in the simple and natural forms which we more frequently meet with, and which often give us more pleasure than the austere beauty of sculpture.