The Art of Perfume Advertising: Caron (1940)

I filed away this Caron advertisement from 1940 a while ago, not just because I liked it, but because I had a feeling that its imagery was borrowed from some earlier work of art. Yesterday, in a completely unrelated search, I came across the source…

Caron’s illustrator was definitely looking at this first-century fresco from the Villa Arianna in Stabiae, near Pompeii, and he or she made just a few adjustments to the woman’s hairstyle and the edges of her draperies.

The fresco now belongs to the collections of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. The British Museum offers a short-and-sweet description of this ancient wall painting:

“Flora, the goddess of fertility, flowers and spring. Wearing a golden yellow tunic and a white mantle, which falls from her shoulder, she walks away from the viewer, plucking a flower to put with the others in the cornucopia (horn of plenty).”

It’s a perfect image to contemplate on a dreary winter day like today.

Images: Caron advertisement (1940) via Paperpursuits; fresco via British Museum.

To see more posts in this series, see here.


  1. What a great image…a while back, you recommended book titles for me, including Power Up. I spotted a used copy, snatched it up, and have been enjoying it in the drear. Earlier still, you recommended an art book called Bare Life, which I happily received as a birthday present from my husband. As a result of all this, I have nicknamed you in my head, the Art Fairy. I picture you carrying an Anna Sui-designed black wand and travelling in a cyclone of cat fur, appearing to those in need of art assistance (you must stay busy with that). So, thank you, Art Fairy!


    • Dear S, Thank you so much for this comment — it means more to me than you could guess! And now I want to commission a magic wand from Anna, or at least up-cycle one of her makeup brushes for this purpose… 😉

      Wishing you a bright and joyful holiday season!


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