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Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Decade

Erró

The Devil of Pompeii / Djöfullinn frá Pompei

Year
1955
Height
226.5 cm
Width
161.1 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Lakkmálverk

After finishing his art training in Reykjavík and Oslo, Erró pursued further study in Florence, where he painted The Devil of Pompeii. He painted this piece after seeing the ruins at Pompeii, an excursion which affected him deeply. In this painting, which depicts the destruction of Pompeii, influences from the Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo are clear, especially in the simplification of shapes and colour contrasts in order to amplify the dramatic tension of the subject. In this quest for emotionally charged art, a distant echo of The Scream by Edward Munch is discernible. In a letter to his family, Erró wrote: “The painting ... has this colour in the foreground representing the fire of the mountain and the Pompeii colour. The form of the volcano is in the background along with a picture of a dog found there. The dog is in the throes of death and symbolises all the dead things there. In the foreground there is the devil in the shape of a monster, representing the one who destroyed everything. Far away is his shadow, to add a sense of depth to the picture.”

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