5.02 Album 1826

Album (untitled), 1826

Zf 8400-4260 raro VI

The extensive album was compiled by an unknown woman around 1826. It combines handwritten excerpts of text fragments, mainly by English, French and Italian writers, and pictures of various kinds. Most of these are prints, with the exception of two gouaches on two consecutive pages, each depicting an eruption of Vesuvius. The first is dated 1794 and commemorates the destruction of Torre del Greco: it shows two buildings in the centre of the picture completely surrounded by glowing lava near the coast. Accompanying it are a few lines from Madame de Staël’s novel Corinne, ou l’Italie, published in 1807. The first words make Vesuvius a metaphor of human existence: “La campagne de Naples est l’image des passions humaines; sulfureuse et féconde, ses dangers et ses plaisirs semblent naître de ces volcans enflammés qui donnent à l’air tant de charmes, et font gronder la foudre sous nos pas.” (Vol. 2, p. 109). – The landscape of Naples offers an image of the human passions: it is sulphurous and fertile, while its dangers and joys seem to spring from those fiery volcanoes which give so much zest to the air and make the lightning thunder under our feet. The second depiction of a nocturnal eruption is dated 1822 and is arranged on the page together with views of Pompei, along with another excerpt of Madame de Staël’s text. [PH]

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