symbolist-art

Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901)
“Vestal” (1874)
Symbolism

Vestals were priestesses of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and family. They cultivated the sacred fire of Vesta that was not allowed to go out. Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children, and took a vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were off-limits to the male colleges of priests.