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But already, in fact, had the art of painting been perfectly developed in Italy.1 At all events, there are extant in the temples at Ardea, at this day, paintings of greater antiquity than Rome itself; in which, in my opinion, nothing is more marvellous, than that they should have remained so long unprotected by a roof, and yet preserving their freshness.2 At Lanuvium, too, it is the same, where we see an Atalanta and a Helena, without drapery, close together, and painted by the same artist. They are both of the greatest beauty, the former being evidently the figure of a virgin, and they still remain uninjured, though the temple is in ruins. The Emperor Caius,3 inflamed with lustfulness, attempted to have them removed, but the nature of the plaster would not admit of it. There are in existence at Cære,4 some paintings of a still higher antiquity. Whoever carefully examines them, will be forced to admit that no art has arrived more speedily at perfection, seeing that it evidently was not in existence at the time of the Trojan War.5

1 Ajasson remarks, that a great number of paintings have been lately discovered in the Etruscan tombs, in a very perfect state, and probably of very high antiquity.—B.

2 There would appear to be still considerable uncertainty respecting the nature of the materials employed by the ancients, and the manner of applying them, by which they produced these durable paintings; a branch of the art which has not been attained in equal perfection by the moderns.—B.

3 Caligula.

4 See B. iii. c. 8.

5 We have already remarked that painting was practised very extensively by the Egyptians, probably long before the period of the Trojan war.—B.

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