Colorful eruptions for New Year's Eve

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Attributed to Girolano Gianni (1837-1895), Eruze del 26 Aprile 1872, [late 19th century], gouache. Graphic Arts Italian drawings.

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Attributed to Girolano Gianni (1837-1895), La Generale di Napoli, [late 19th century], gouache. Graphic Arts Italian drawings.

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Attributed to Girolano Gianni (1837-1895), Eruzione dell’Anno 1806, [late 19th century], gouache. Graphic Arts Italian drawings.

Mount Vesuvius, a volcano in the gulf of Naples, is best known for erupting in the year 79 and destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. According to T.A. Schneer’s The History of Vesuvius from A.D. 79 to A.D. 1907, there have also been major eruptions in 1794, 1822, 1834, 1850 and 1872. Almost a dozen of these explosions were depicted by Gianni for the local tourist market.

Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti (Maltese Heritage Foundation) identified this Neapolitan artist as Girolamo Gianni and mounted an exhibition of his paintings in 1994, providing the following biography:

Neapolitan artist Girolamo Gianni (1837-1895) first came to Malta in 1867, apparently to evaluate the local market. Evidently his stay was successful, as a year later he returned with his family. During the two decades of his Maltese sojourn, Gianni built up a profitable business running a busy bodega, producing small souvenir paintings and large commissioned works. His works feature topographically accurate landscapes, street scenes, and seascapes, and provide a romantic and idyllic record of daily life in Malta.