Henryk Siemiradzki, The Girl or the Vase, 1878

The title kind of says it all. A Roman patrician (one of the ruling class elites in ancient Rome) contemplates whether to purchase the vase balanced on his knee or the girl. She is being forcibly dragged out in front of the patrician by the slave merchant, while his assistant disrobes the poor girl. The patrician’s son playfully balances on a chair while taking in the whole scene and learning from his father, foreshadowing the son’s future role as patrician and how he will treat others.

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