Fascinating and evocative drawing depicting the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 8th, 1779.
The 1779 eruption, exactly 1700 years after the famous Pompeian eruption, the volcano erupted in one of the most notable eruptions of the 18th century. This was the end of the 1770-1779 eruptive cycle which had seen increased activity for nearly a decade. The 1779 eruption started with a large lava fountain and proceeded through a series of events before raining coarse pyroclastics onto nearby Ottaviano. Ash eruption continued through to October, and the mountain became dormant for four years.
The sketch shows a violent eruption, with pyroclastics and thunder raining out from the top of the mountain. Nearby observers are shown fleeing the scene. The drawing was likely completed in the early-to-mid 19th century based on its stylistic tendencies.