Rare photo of Vesuvius goes on sale for €8 million

Plenty of snap-happy tourists travel to Naples to get the perfect photo of Mount Vesuvius. But would you pay €8 million for it?

Rare photo of Vesuvius goes on sale for €8 million
Mount Vesuvius. Photo: AFP

A Neapolitan photographer, Giovanni Scotti is hoping someone will, and is selling his “unique” picture on eBay with a hefty price tag.

The eBay listing says his picture captures a rare moment from May 20th this year, when a rainbow framed the volcano, creating an “incredible and maybe unrepeatable” view.

While the rainbow was widely photographed, with snaps shared across social media, Scotti explains that many have claimed it was a stunt or Photoshop – and his negative is “the only incontrovertible proof of what really happened that day”.

Another photo of the moment.

The colour negative film is in perfect condition, and the buyer is free to use the film for creating prints of their own or any other purpose they choose. Art and photography enthusiasts have until October 8th to buy the photo.

In the event that no-one is willing to stump up the €8 million asking price, Scotti is also accepting offers, and 18 people have so far registered their interest.

And the postage, at least, is free.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.


In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.