The painter Charles Caryl Coleman has become closely associated with Aestheticism, a movement in late 19th- and early 20th-century fine and decorative arts, which emphasized beauty over all other principles. Many of the artists associated with this movement were heavily influenced by Japanese art, which they admired for its simplicity of design and use of naturalistic motifs.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Coleman studied in Paris, but eventually made his permanent home in Italy on the island of Capri in the Bay of Naples. Coleman converted a 17th-century convent into his home and studio, which he named Villa Narcissus, after the Greek mythological figure who was captivated with the beauty of his own reflection. From his studio window, Coleman had a direct view of Mount Vesuvius, which he painted many times, in various states of eruption, over his nearly sixty years on the island.