Archaeologists have found in an ancient Pompeii bedroom a fresco depicting a sensual scene of a queen of Sparta with a swan.
Pompeii archaeological park director Massimo Osanna told Italian news agency Ansa on Monday that the figure of the queen, Leda being impregnated by a swan representing Roman god Jupiter is a fairly common theme in Pompeii home decoration.
But he praised this fresco as exceptional since the queen appears to look at whoever’s looking at the fresco.
Mr Osanna said: “Leda watches the spectator with a sensuality that’s absolutely pronounced.”
The fresco was discovered on Friday during ongoing work to consolidate the ancient city’s structures after rains and wear-and-tear in past years caused some ruins to collapse.
The flourishing ancient Roman city was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
Leda is an important figure in Greek mythology.
She was said to have borne children fathered by the god Zeus, the Greek version of Jupiter, and by a mortal king of Sparta.
According to myth, her children included the beautiful Helen of Troy and the twins Castor and Pollux.