3.B.e - The House of the Vettii (VI, 15, 1)

This house, which was unearthed in 1894 and 1895, appears in the form of a compact architectural block. From two seals found in the main atrium, we know the name of the building’s last owners, the Vettii. It was they who had commissioned the overall renewal of the painted decoration that adorned their residence. But it is not for this alone that the house is famous.

From the vast garden, in fact, have emerged the most splendid and best preserved sculptures of Pompeii. Amid the eighteen columns of the peristyle stood a dozen or so statues, from which jets of water gushed down into eight marble basins. Nine of the original sculptures have been found, seven made of marble and two of bronze, while fragments of another two, portraying a Pan and a Priapus, which may have been damaged by the earthquake of 62 A.D., were found scattered through the kitchen and its adjoining rooms.

  Dionysus   Pan   Priapus   Bound cupid   Bound cupid   Seated boy with a rabbit

The bronzes in the House of the Vettii

The fountains and impluvia in Pompeii houses and suburban villas were often decorated with pairs of bronze cupids, well suited to serve as fountain mouths. Pipes could easily be inserted in the hollow statues, conveying water to gush directly from objects or animals held in the children’s hands.

  Cupid with duck and cluster of grapes   Cupid with duck and cluster of grapes

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