Narcissus fresco discovered at Italy's Pompeii

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A fresco depicting Narcissus gazing at himself has emerged from an excavation at the Pompeii archaeological site near Naples in southern Italy, administrators announced Thursday.

Archaeologists discovered the fresco in the atrium of a richly decorated home, in whose bedroom a fresco depicting Leda and the Swan was unearthed in November 2018.

"A part of the dwelling's atrium (has been) brought to light, with vividly coloured walls and a fresco of Narcissus at the centre of one of them, in which he sees himself reflected in the water, enraptured by his own image, according to classical iconography," the Pompeii Archaeological Park said in a statement.

"The beauty of these rooms, which the initial discoveries had already made evident, has led us to modify the project and continue the excavation to bring the Leda room and the atrium behind it to light," Pompeii Archaeological Park Director Alfonsina Russo said in a statement.

"In the future (we will) open at least part of this domus to the public," she added.

The entire Leda room is characterised by sophisticated decorations, with delicate floral embellishments interspersed by griffins with cornucopia, winged cupids, still lifes, and scenes of combat between animals, Pompeii archaeologists said.

"The extraordinary discoveries of this site continue," stated former Pompeii Archaeological Park director Marco Osanna, who is overseeing the dig.

"The scene of the myth of Narcissus, well known and present elsewhere at Pompeii, is presented in the atrium of the house. The entire room is pervaded by the theme of the joy of living, of beauty and of vanity, which is further underlined by the figures of maenads and satyrs who accompanied visitors inside the public part of the house, as though part of a Dionysian retinue," Osanna said in a statement.

"This decoration was intentionally luxurious, and probably dated to the last years of the colony, as indicated by the extraordinary preservation state of the colors," Osanna added.

The site of the ancient Roman town, which was preserved in lava after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in the year 79 AD, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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