I Can’t Stop Thinking About This Painting

And neither will you.

Emily Rose


We all love the story of what happened to Pompeii in August of 79 A.D. It’s exactly the sort of ghastly that human beings love to stare at for a good shudder. There’s a deep, primal need in us all to gaze upon the horror of our own mortality, and all the terrible ways it can come about, and feel an immediate thrill of gratitude for the present moment.

And Karl Bryullov, a prodigious Russian painter who studied in Italy during the early 1800’s, agrees.

The Last Day of Pompeii

I’m normally excellent at citing sources, but I really don’t have any today. Just my own analysis on this piece, because there is so much to unpack and I’m very excited about all of it.

The way that Bryullov packed this painting with vignettes that both isolate the players, yet unite them in this moment, is nothing short of stunning. And I want to walk you through them all, as I see it.

The stubborn grandpa who was born in this town, and will die in this town

We see the same thing during cataclysmic tornadoes and hurricanes in modern day America. We…