Archeologists have made another major artistic discovery amid the ruins of ancient Pompeii, finding a well-preserved fresco depicting the Greek mythological figure of Narcissus.
The Guardian reports that the fresco was discovered in the atrium of a house where an earlier excavation yielded another fresco painting portraying the eroticized Greek myth of Leda and the Swan.
Narcissus, who according to the myth was so mesmerized by his own beauty that he fell in love with his reflection and died from desire burning inside him, was reportedly a popular subject of art in the first-century Roman city.
“The beauty of these rooms has led us to modify the project and continue the excavation,” said the site’s director, Alfonsina Russo.
“In the future this will allow us to open at least part of this domus to the public,” Russo said, according to the Guardian. “Its excavation has been possible in the context of the broader intervention of stabilization and re-profiling of the excavation fronts, overseen by the Great Pompeii Project.”
The eruption of Mounts Vesuvius in 79 A.D. destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, near present-day Naples, and killed more than 2,000 people. Pompeii draws nearly four million visitors per year, making it one of the world’s most visited archaeological sites.
In 2013, UNESCO threatened to list Pompeii as a world heritage site in peril unless Italian authorities improved efforts to preserve it.