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Eruption of Mount Vesuvius with the Ponte della Maddalena in the Distance


An image of a fan with three depictions of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. From left to right: a tall mountain with smoke, a shallow mountain in the black of night erupting with a column of lava, and a shallow mountain with a swirl smoke.

Fan Design with Eruption of Vesuvius and Three Views, 18th c., Anonymous, Italian, 18th century, watercolor and gouache on vellum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1938, 38.91.105

Like modern postcards, fans often functioned as souvenirs, here depicting the ancient eruption of Mount Vesuvius in three views. Introduced to Europe from Japan in the 16th century, fans became common as both fashionable and utilitarian objects by the 18th century.