Treasures of the Royal Museum of Naples
The engravings below are reproductions of frescoes found in Pompeian and Herculanum houses, when these towns were dominated by the Romans.The original wall paintings can be dated between 300 B.C. and about the year 65 when the Vesuvius erupted and covered them with lava.
It was only around 1740 that they were excavated. At the beginning of the 19th Century, together with phallic objects, sculptures and amulets a number of them were deposited at the Naples degli Studi Museum where they could only be seen by men of mature age after having obtained permission from the Minister of the Royal House.
Colonel Famin, chancellor at the French Consulate, made these images more widely accessible by publishing them in a book in 1830, attacking the hypocrisy of his day and pointing out that they were part of a long theophallic cult tradition since Osiris’ time.
The erotic frescoes come from rooms dedicated to Venus that were called Venerea (love chapels) and were guarded by a special slave.