The Lupanare (brothel) of Pompeii:
The lupanar was the official brothel of Pompeii. As a trading town, it was visited every day by large numbers of people, especially traders from other towns.
The brothel is situated at the intersection of two side roads on Via dell’Abbondanza near the town centre, not far from the Forum and the Stabian Baths (which had a rear entrance on the Vicolo del Lupanare).
Phalluses engraved on the basalt road surface or on stones set into the facades of houses gave visitors clear indications on how to reach the brothel.
We find explicit reference to the use to which this building was put, unlike many other brothels in the town (there were probably 25 in all) which were situated on the first floor above taverns and houses.
The lupanar had ten stone beds with mattresses, each bed set in its own small room. Five of these were found on the ground floor, while the larger rooms were situated on the first floor which could be reached by an independent entrance and a wooden staircase.
The customers expressed their opinions on the brothel and the performance of the prostitutes by scratching them on the walls, as can be seen by the approximately 120 examples of explicit graffiti. The brothel was managed by the “leno” (an owner of the prostitutes) who bought the girls as slaves, primarily in the East, at an average price of 600 sesterces.
The brothel’s tariffs varied from 2 to 16 asses (1 as was equal to about half a sesterce).
Erotic scene from the House of Cecilio Giocondo in Pompeii :
The great effects of the musculature of the man, the perspective of the composition, the chiaroscuro effects of the bodies, the care of the drapery of the sheet show that this fresco was not made by one of the usual painters of lupanare (brothels) of many pornographic paintings found in Pompeii, but it was realized by the same artist who made the paintings of III style on the walls of the same house.
Satyr and nymph, mosaic from Pompeii, House of the Faun (VI, 12, 2) An identical replica found in Thmuis, near Alexandria, allows to assign to the Alexandrian sphere also this mosaic. Like in the painted small check of Satyr and Ermafrodito or in the Polifemo and Galatea, also in this one the erotic topic makes pretext for a composition played on the contrast between the roughness of the Satyr and the soft femininity of the Nymph. Remarkable the colouristic yield of the muscular masses on which the light plays.
Satyr and Hermaphrodite in Pompei:
A replica of the same painting has been found in Thmuis near Alexandria of Egypt: this allows to assign this mosaic to the Alexandrian artistic environment . Like in other paintings of the same subject (such as Satyr and Hermaphrodite or in the Polifemus and Galatea), also in this erotic image the artist finds a good excuse for a composition played on the contrast between the wildness of the Satyr and the femininity of the Nymph.
Erotic scene from House of the Centenary:
This house was given this name as it was discovered in 1879, the year of the eighteenth centenary of the eruption which completely buried Pompeii. In a private bed chamber two erotic paintings were found: one of them is here shown.