Flora, I century B.C., fresco 38 x 22 cm , Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples
Flora, originally from Ancient Stabiae, was buried under the ash and lava of the same eruption of Vesuvius the covered Pompei and Herculaneum in 79A.D.
Stabiae was one of the Roman patricians' favoured destinations and the surrounding area was scattered with their residential villas.
The fresco was discovered in 1759 in Villa Arianna, named after another painting, depicting Arianna abandoned by Theseus on the Island of Nassus, which was also discovered there. Villa Arianna, which dates back to II century B.C., is in fact the oldest of the Stabiaen villas and was once connected to the port by means of a series of ramps and tunnels.
''Flora'' is one of the most important paintings of the Roman period. It depicts the Greek nymph, Flora, who was, to Romans, the personification of Spring. She stands out against the aqua-marine background, a barefoot girl, with her back turned to the viewer, gathering white blossoms from a tree with her right hand and placing them in a kalathos with her left. She is wearing a yellow tunic or chiton and has one shoulder bared. An ornate diadem is placed on her head and her right arm is encircled by an arm bangle.
Inspired by figures from the IV century B.C., ''Flora'' came to light alongside three other paintings of a similar nature - ''Diana, the Hunter'', ''Leda and the Swan'', and ''The Medea'', all frequently recurring images in classical times