Plate XXXIX - Achilles and Briseis

The painting of Achilles and Briseis, of which the outlines are attempted to be given in plate XXXIX, might, when first discovered, be considered as the finest specimen of the ancient art of painting which had come down to us, and was, probably, the faint resemblance of some celebrated picture by one of the great masters of Greece. It was impossible to describe the atrium of the Poet without dwelling on this beautiful production, so that it needs no further description. The traveller will look in vain for this treasure in the spot it once occupied, as it is removed, after having undergone the inclemency of two or three seasons, to the Museum at Naples. Had the house, which might have been covered in at a small expense, been restored, we might have had a lower floor at least, nearly as perfect as it existed before the fatal eruption. The subject of a restoration has indeed often been thought of by the directors, and the academicians have even met to consult on the subject. Unfortunately one insists upon it that the atrium was covered, while another declares that no roof whatever existed : the voice of authority which might decide is not always either interested in or learned upon the subject, and the House of Pansa, which had been selected, is now in a state of irretrievable decay : that of the Poet has followed it ; and the mansion called that of the Dioscuri, which, for a trifle, might have been restored to its original splendour, is hastening to a state of nakedness and desolation.

So much description of this picture is given in the text, that more is unnecessary.

The candelabra, represented as if behind the picture, is in the Museum.