ART 4 2-DAY 13 December v.7.b0
Died on 13 December 1716: Charles
de La Fosse (or de Lafosse, Delafosse), French Baroque
painter born on 15 June 1636. He studied under Charles
Le Brun [24 Feb 1619 – 12 Feb 1690] and was an uncle of Antoine
De La Fosse's decorative historical and allegorical murals, while continuing a variant of the stately French Baroque manner of the 17th century, began to develop a lighter, more brightly colored style that presaged the Rococo painting of the 18th century. The greatest influence on La Fosse's painting was the work of his teacher, Charles Le Brun, the dictator of artistic matters in France during the reign of King Louis XIV. La Fosse was also impressed with the works of the 16th-century Italians Francesco Primaticcio (whose visible work was all in France), Titian, and Paolo Veronese, which he studied during his five-year stay in Rome and Venice (from 1658).
After the reorganization of the Paris Academy in 1661 by Louis XIV (whose aim was to control all the artistic activity in France) a controversy occurred among the members that was to dominate artistic attitudes for the rest of the century. This was what has been described as the 'battle of styles', the conflict over whether Rubens or Poussin was a suitable model to follow. Poussin's art from his mature period was an ideal model for an academic teacher because his pictures followed such a precise sequence of rules in the placing of figures and in facial expressions. On the other hand, the sensuality of Rubens, both in form and color, was an ideal model to imitate when painting on a grand scale was required, especially for a palace decoration. The sides were never reconciled in theory: the views of the Rubenists and the Poussinists were too opposed; but a surprising number of painters combined the characteristics of both sources, to produce a hybrid art that set the standard for the rest of the century. One of the earliest and best of the painters involved in the battle of styles was Charles de La Fosse whose style already looks forward to the 18th century. La Fosse's color is Rubensian, but his compositions are classically inspired. Few painters of the time had La Fosse's energy, and his most important achievement was the decoration of the interior of the dome of Les Invalides in Paris toward the end of his career in the 1690s.
In 1689-1691 La Fosse decorated Montagu House in London. His greatest work was the decoration of the cupola of the Church of Les Invalides in Paris (1705), while the Sacrifice of Iphigenia and The Sunrise are his most important works in the style of Charles Le Brun. More significant to later artists, however, are his smaller works, such as The Finding of Moses (1680), remarkable for their use of light and their fresh color sense. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1673 and was named chancellor in 1715.
The Finding of Moses (1680, 125x110cm; 880x766pix, 106kb)
The Temptation of Christ (152kb)
— L'Adoration par les mages (1715, 427x447cm; 732x768pix, 66kb) _ Cette vaste composition, marquée par le souvenir de Véronèse et de Rubens, a été peinte pour le décor du choeur de Notre-Dame, réalisé entre 1715 et 1717. L'ensemble comprenait encore une Nativité par de la Fosse, et d'autres scènes de la vie de la Vierge, par Claude-Guy Hallé, Jean Jouvenet, Louis de Boulogne, Antoine Coypel.
— Clytie changée en tournesol (1688, 131x159cm; 576x700pix, 255kb) _ Ce tableau fut commandé par Louis XIV pour le cabinet du Couchant du Grand Trianon. Une légende de la mythologie grecque raconte qu'Apollon, dieu du soleil, avait pour maîtresse Clytie, nymphe des eaux, ainsi que sa soeur, Leucothoé. Jalouse, Clytie dénonça cette liaison à son père, Océan, qui enterra vive sa fille cadette. Apollon, trahi, abandonna Clytie qui se laissa dépérir. Touché par son désespoir, Apollon la métamorphosera en héliotrope, car elle était toujours tournée vers le soleil: Métamorphoses d'Ovide (IV, 190-273):
'Exigit indicii memorem Cythereia poenam
inque vices illum, tectos qui laesit amores,
laedit amore pari. quid nunc, Hyperione nate,
forma colorque tibi radiataque lumina prosunt?
nempe, tuis omnes qui terras ignibus uris,
ureris igne novo; quique omnia cernere debes,
Leucothoen spectas et virgine figis in una,
quos mundo debes, oculos. modo surgis Eoo
temperius caelo, modo serius incidis undis,
spectandique mora brumalis porrigis horas;
deficis interdum, vitiumque in lumina mentis
transit et obscurus mortalia pectora terres.
nec tibi quod lunae terris propioris imago
obstiterit, palles: facit hunc amor iste colorem.
diligis hanc unam, nec te Clymeneque Rhodosque
nec tenet Aeaeae genetrix pulcherrima Circes
quaeque tuos Clytie quamvis despecta petebat
concubitus ipsoque illo grave vulnus habebat
tempore: Leucothoe multarum oblivia fecit,
gentis odoriferae quam formosissima partu
edidit Eurynome; sed postquam filia crevit,
quam mater cunctas, tam matrem filia vicit.
rexit Achaemenias urbes pater Orchamus isque
septimus a prisco numeratur origine Belo.
'Axe sub Hesperio sunt pascua Solis equorum:
ambrosiam pro gramine habent; ea fessa diurnis
membra ministeriis nutrit reparatque labori.
dumque ibi quadrupedes caelestia pabula carpunt
noxque vicem peragit, thalamos deus intrat amatos,
versus in Eurynomes faciem genetricis, et inter
bis sex Leucothoen famulas ad lumina cernit
levia versato ducentem stamina fuso.
ergo ubi ceu mater carae dedit oscula natae,
"res" ait "arcana est: famulae, discedite neve
eripite arbitrium matri secreta loquendi."
paruerant, thalamoque deus sine teste relicto
"ille ego sum" dixit, "qui longum metior annum,
omnia qui video, per quem videt omnia tellus,
mundi oculus: mihi, crede, places." pavet illa, metuque
et colus et fusus digitis cecidere remissis.
ipse timor decuit. nec longius ille moratus
in veram rediit speciem solitumque nitorem;
at virgo quamvis inopino territa visu
victa nitore dei posita vim passa querella est.
'Invidit Clytie (neque enim moderatus in illa
Solis amor fuerat) stimulataque paelicis ira
vulgat adulterium diffamatamque parenti
indicat. ille ferox inmansuetusque precantem
tendentemque manus ad lumina Solis et "ille
vim tulit invitae" dicentem defodit alta
crudus humo tumulumque super gravis addit harenae.
dissipat hunc radiis Hyperione natus iterque
dat tibi, qua possis defossos promere vultus;
nec tu iam poteras enectum pondere terrae
tollere, nympha, caput corpusque exsangue iacebas:
nil illo fertur volucrum moderator equorum
post Phaethonteos vidisse dolentius ignes.
ille quidem gelidos radiorum viribus artus
si queat in vivum temptat revocare calorem;
sed quoniam tantis fatum conatibus obstat,
nectare odorato sparsit corpusque locumque
multaque praequestus "tanges tamen aethera" dixit.
protinus inbutum caelesti nectare corpus
delicuit terramque suo madefecit odore,
virgaque per glaebas sensim radicibus actis
turea surrexit tumulumque cacumine rupit.
'At Clytien, quamvis amor excusare dolorem
indiciumque dolor poterat, non amplius auctor
lucis adit Venerisque modum sibi fecit in illa.
tabuit ex illo dementer amoribus usa;
nympharum inpatiens et sub Iove nocte dieque
sedit humo nuda nudis incompta capillis,
perque novem luces expers undaeque cibique
rore mero lacrimisque suis ieiunia pavit
nec se movit humo; tantum spectabat euntis
ora dei vultusque suos flectebat ad illum.
membra ferunt haesisse solo, partemque coloris
luridus exsangues pallor convertit in herbas;
est in parte rubor violaeque simillimus ora
flos tegit. illa suum, quamvis radice tenetur,
vertitur ad Solem mutataque servat amorem.'
dixerat, et factum mirabile ceperat auris;
pars fieri potuisse negant, pars omnia veros
posse deos memorant: sed non est Bacchus in illis.
Born on 13 December 1836: Franz
Seraph von Lenbach, German painter who died on 06 May
— The son of a master builder, Franz von Lenbach was trained for his father’s profession at the Königliche Landwirtschafts- und Gewerbeschule in Landshut, also working from 1851 in the sculpture studio of Anselm Sickinger [1807–1873] in Munich. His elder brother, Karl August Lenbach [1828–1847], had already become involved with painting, and it was through him that Franz Lenbach met Johann Baptist Hofner [1832–1913], an artist who had studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. They went on sketching expeditions together, and Hofner introduced him to plein-air painting. After spending two semesters at the Polytechnische Schule in Augsburg (1852–1853), and some months in the studio of Albert Gräfle [1807–1889], a portrait painter in Munich, Lenbach entered the Akademie in Munich in 1854. In 1857 he attended the classes of Karl Theodor Piloty [01 Oct 1826 – 21 Jul 1886], who was renowned for his history paintings. Lenbach produced his first important painting, The Angel Appearing to Hagar in the Desert (1858; now destroyed), while in this class, followed by Peasants Trying to Take Shelter from a Thunderstorm in a Chapel (1858; now destroyed; a preparatory oil sketch remains). The sale of this picture, together with a scholarship, enabled him to accompany Piloty on a journey to Rome with Ferdinand von Piloty [1828–1895], Theodor Schüz [1830–1900] and Carl Ebert [1821–85]. In Rome, von Lenbach made many oil and pencil sketches that inspired The Arch of Titus (1860) and The Shepherd Boy (1860), both of which were finished after his return to Germany. The works of this first journey were painted from nature and were frequently attacked for their “trivial realism.”
From 1863 to 1868 Lenbach copied Old Masters from the museums and private collections of Germany, Italy, and Spain, and sold them to private collectors, especially Count Schack. During the late 1860s he traveled extensively, to Spain in 1867 and to Tangiers in 1868. While on his tours, he painted the last of his landscapes, such as The Alhambra, Granada (1868). After 1868 Lenbach devoted himself to portraiture. Among his sitters were the foremost men of his time: Emperor William I, Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Hermann von Helmholtz, and William Gladstone. His portraits of Otto von Bismarck, whom he painted about 80 times, are particularly famous. Stylistically, Lenbach was influenced by the chiaroscuro, color, and painterly qualities of Titian [1489 – 27 Aug 1576], Rembrandt [15 Jul 1606 – 04 Oct 1669], Diego Velázquez [06 Jun 1599 – 06 Aug 1660], and Joshua Reynolds [16 Jul 1723 – 23 Feb 1792]. The later years of his life were spent between Munich, Vienna, and Berlin, with visits to Egypt and Rome.
— Among von Lenbach's students were István Nagy and Thérèse Schwartze.
–- Self-Portrait (1869, 94x72cm; 611x466pix, 25kb _ ZOOM to 1222x932pix, 100kb _ ZOOM+ to 2444x1864pix, 463kb)
–- Lily Merk(1902, 122x102cm; 613x499pix, 31kb _ ZOOM to 1226x998pix, 123kb _ ZOOM+ to 2452x1996pix, 363kb)
–- Lolo von Lenbach (1897, oval 83x74cm; 728x655pix, 35kb _ ZOOM to 1093x985pix, 74kb _ ZOOM+ to 1639x1476pix, 171kb)
–- Conrad Geyer(1869, 85x59cm; 610x424pix, 16kb _ ZOOM to 1220x848pix, 46kb _ ZOOM+ to 2439x1695pix, 201kb) _ a painting in much need of restauration.
–- Anna Schubart (1867, 59x44cm; 613x454pix, 23kb _ ZOOM to 1227x908pix, 76kb _ ZOOM+ to 2454x1815pix, 344kb)
–- A Lady Wearing a Black Coat With Fur Collar (1898, 100x75cm; 667x498pix, 22kb _ ZOOM to 1000x748pix, 49kb)
–- An Elegant Lady in Rubenesque Costume (1890, 90x74cm; 1000x810pix, 87kb)
–- A Bearded Gentleman Wearing a Pince~Nez (1888, 101x76cm; 1000x733pix, 51kb)
–- A Lady in Profile (57x49cm; 1000x858pix, 84kb)
–- Fürst Otto von Bismarck (85x65cm; 1000x738pix, 56kb) _ Bismarck [01 Apr 1815 – 30 Jul 1898] was prime minister of Prussia (23 Sep 1862 – 01 Jan 1873, 09 Sep 1873 – 20 Mar 1890) and founder and first chancellor (1871–1890) of the German Empire.
— Otto von Bismarck (1884; 600x432pix, 51kb) in a different pose.
— Ein Hirtenknabe (1860; 600x883pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2061pix)
— Countess Zecheny (1890; 1121x864pix, 185kb)
— Ignaz von Döllinger (1874, 95x68cm; 900x646pix) _ Döllinger [28 Feb 1799 – 10 Jan 1890], was a German historical scholar and theologian who left the Catholic Church and joined the Old Catholics who refused to accept the doctrine of papal infallibility proclaimed on 18 July 1870 by the first Vatican Council.
— Pope Leo XIII (1885; 600x516pix, 88kb) _ Leo XIII [02 Mar 1810 – 20 Jul 1903], who became Pope on 20 February 1878, brought a new spirit to the papacy, manifested in more conciliatory positions toward civil governments, by care taken that the church not be opposed to scientific progress, and by an awareness of the pastoral and social needs of the times.
— Richard Wagner (1894; 600x466pix, 73kb) _ Wagner [22 May 1813 – 13 Feb 1883] was a German dramatic composer and theorist whose operas and music had a revolutionary influence on the course of Western music, either by extension of his discoveries or reaction against them.
Marion Lenbach, the Artist's Daughter (age about 12, I guess) (1900, 149x105cm).
— Marion Lenbach (1901, 93x70cm)
— John Acton, 1st Baron Acton (1879)
Died on 13 December 1693: Willem
van Velde Sr., Dutch artist born in 1611.
When Willem van de Velde was sixty-two, King Charles II refused to allow him to continue risking his life at sea. Yet even on shore this artist never stopped drawing and painting ships. A contemporary noted: "He had a Model of the Masts and Tackle of a Ship always before him." Van de Velde's father was a seaman, but little is known of his early life. He moved to Amsterdam in 1636 and traveled with Dutch trade ships to the Baltic during the early 1640s. Later, he drew and painted the Dutch fleet during the Anglo-Dutch war, sometimes as the official recording artist, sometimes as an independent observer, witnessing battles from the deck of his small boat. Van de Velde regularly collaborated with his son Willem, also a painter. His other son, Adriaen van de Velde, became a landscape painter. When the French invaded Holland in 1672 the family moved to England, quickly gaining recognition from King Charles II. In his drawings, mostly executed in pen and gray wash, van de Velde paid particular attention to the details that differentiated ships, such as figureheads, stern carvings, and gunports. Naval historians now use his ship portraits to study the rig and build of vessels in his day.
Willem van de Velde had a son by the same name who also painted seascapes. However, Van de Velde the Younger [1633 – 06 Apr 1707] did not employ his father's characteristic technique, preferring ‘ordinary’ methods of painting.
The Battle of Livorno (1655 drawing, 114x160cm) _ In 1653 a naval battle was fought near the Italian city of Livorno (Leghorn). Cornelis Tromp played a central role. He commanded the De Halve Maan, recently captured from the English. When the Dutch and English fleets met at the neutral harbor of Livorno, the latter took the opportunity to try to recapture the ship. The ensuing battle was subsequently portrayed by Willem van de Velde the Elder. His pen painting shows the English vessel, the Samson, consumed by flames as the Dutch board from De Halve Maan. The painting was made two years after the Battle of Livorno, commissioned by Cornelis's father Maerten, himself a celebrated naval hero, to commemorate his son.
De Halve Maan is shown in the center: the Dutch ship remains defiantly upright while the English vessel goes down in flames. Some of the crew have already abandoned ship. In fact Willem van de Velde's depiction is not entirely accurate. To please his patrons he placed Cornelis Tromp's ship in the center of the fray. Yet Commander Jan van Galen deserved more of the credit for this crushing defeat of the English. Though severely wounded, he had himself strapped to the mast where he was able to continue commanding his ship, De Olifant. In this work, however, De Olifant appears to be dithering on the edge of the battleground.
The Samson was not the only ship lost at the Battle of Livorno. Van de Velde showed some of the other dramatic events of the encounter in this pen drawing. Here a ship engulfed by fire is sinking. For the crew, the longboat offers a refuge. Willem van de Velde employed an unusual technique in this work. It is a drawing in pen and ink on a panel covered with a ground of white oil paint. A brush was used only for occasional dark patches, such as the clouds.
The Battle of Terheide (1657 drawing, 170x289cm) _ It is 10 August 1653. The first Anglo-Dutch War is approaching its end. One great naval battle remains to be fought. The Battle of Terheide was the last of eight major encounters between the Dutch and English fleets. There was no victory for either side. Casualties on both sides were high. The confrontation had just begun when Admiral Maarten HarpertszoonTromp was killed. Here, the Brederode, Tromp's ship, is fighting the Resolution, the ship of the English commander Monk. On the stern is a harp and the Cross of Saint George, the arms of the English commonwealth, Cromwell's republican government in the British Isles (1649-1660). The Dutch ship can be recognized from the coat of arms with two lions on the stern.
Van de Velde drew the scene in pen and ink on a white ground made of a layer of lead white and chalk diluted with oil. It would have taken three months for the surface to be hard enough to stand up to the sharp nib and to hold the ink. This technique was used in the seventeenth century and was known as pen painting. Van de Velde specialised in this genre. Up to the 16th century, most paintings featured religious subjects. About 1600 this started to change. Artists began specializing in a particular subject. These new genres were usually not or only partly religious. They included, for example, landscape, still life, architectural painting, and history painting. These had long been included in paintings as elements of a composition, but never as the central theme. There is also a genre known as ‘genre painting’. This category features works in which people are depicted in their everyday environment., which lent itself perfectly to the rendering of ships, his favorite subject, in minute detail. Van de Velde was familiar with ships' construction and their rigging.
Van de Velde was actually present at the Battle of Terheide. As was uncommon for marine painters of the day, Van de Velde had himself taken to the battle scene in a small sailing boat. There he made sketches of different moments of the battle, drawing everything from life. In the pen drawing we can see him sitting with a drawing board on his knee. Van de Velde did not develop the sketches into this large pen drawing until four years later.
The Battle of Terheide was the last military action of Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, reason enough to record the “glorious” battle. It was probably Cornelis Tromp, Maarten's son, who commissioned the painting. Cornelis also played an important part in another battle, the Battle of Leghorn. This battle was also recorded for prosperity by Van de Velde. Together with two others, the paintings form a series that depicts the famous sea battles of Cornelis's father, Maarten Tromp. The other two paintings picture the Battles of the Downs and of Dunkirk, both of which took place in 1639.
The Council of War on board De Zeven Provinciën (1667 drawing, 117x175cm) _ 10 June 1666, the eve of the Four Days' Battle at Sea. On board the flagship of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter (right), the Council of War meets. This can be seen from the white flag flying at the back of the ship. The flag and pennant on the large mast indicate that this is the ship of the commander-in-chief. De Zeven Provinciën had been launched a year earlier. On the left is the Delft with Jan van Nes as rear-admiral of the central section of De Ruyter's fleet. The two ships in the middle are Captain Hendrik Gotsken's ship the Utrecht (left) and the Eendracht commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Aert van Nes, the second highest ranking officer under De Ruyter.
The Four Days' Battle (11 June-14 June 1666) took place during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667) between the two naval powers, England and the Dutch Republic. It was only in the afternoon of 14 June that De Ruyter decided on a general attack. Within half an hour, the English fleet had been beaten and fled to home ports. There were heavy losses on both sides, 2500 dead and wounded.
Willem van de Velde the Elder specialized in pen drawings of maritime scenes. He maintained good contacts with seafarers. From 31 May 1666 to 10 June 1666, just before the Four Days' Battle broke out, he would have been on board De Ruyter's fleet to make sketches. In this way he was able to prepare for the final, highly detailed pen painting.
— The Gouden Leeuw before Amsterdam (1686, 180x300cm)
People on Board Small Merchant Vessels (1654, 21x32cm)
— Two Sailing Ships on a Calm Sea (392x548pix, 147kb _ ZOOM to 915x1277pix, 462kb) _ with the ghostly upside-down bleed-through of a ship printed on the reverse side.
Born on 13 December 1821: Joseph
Noël Paton, Scottish painter, illustrator,
sculptor and collector, who died on 25 December 1901.
Died on 13 December 1736: Gaspar
(or Kaspar) Wittel (or Vittel, Vanvitelli) “Gasparo
degli occhiali”, Dutch artist born in 1653
Dutch painter, known in Italy as Gaspare Vanvitelli. He received his first training at Amersfoort, Holland, although he was in Rome by the time of the Jubilee of 1675. He worked as a draughtsman on a scheme for regulating the Tiber and this probably gave him the idea of making large and very accurate topographical drawings which could be worked up into 'vedute'; he therefore be the link between Dutch topographical painters like van der Heyden and later Italian 'vedutisti'. He is now recognized as an extremely important forerunner of painters like Carlevaris, Canaletto and Pannini, since there are dated Roman vedute by him of 1681.
He went to Venice in the 1690s and there is a dated veduta of 1697 (Prado, Madrid), which antedates Carlevaris. He was in Naples when his son Luigi Vanvitelli [12 May 1700–], later the great Neapolitan architect, was born. He spent his last years in Naples and Rome, where he died. He was nicknamed 'Gaspare degli Occhiali' from at least 1712, and his short sight may have prevented his working after c. 1730. Old sale-catalogues often refer to e.g. 'Two landskip by Ochiali'.
Saint Peter's in Rome (1711, 57x11cm) _ Van Vittel (Gaspare Vanvitelli in Italy) specialized in topographically accurate views of cities. Portraits of cities and specific buildings were not new in his days, Dutch and Flemish contemporaries in Italy also made urban views. However, van Wittel was the first Italianate to concentrate on the category. Van Wittel's topographical views are called 'vedute'. Although the term was used in Italy to characterize pictures of Rome and its environs long before van Wittel appeared on the scene, he is rightly credited with establishing vedute as an independent category of painting. In his time the term began to be used to characterize portrayals of other cities and their sites. Van Wittel's own oeuvre includes some of Venice, Florence, Bologna, Naples, and other places on the Italian peninsula. Strictly speaking one can speak of vedute of Amsterdam, Paris, London, Dresden, St. Petersburg, and so forth, but customary usage confines the term to topographical views of Italy. Van Wittel starts in Italy by following the tradition established in the sixteenth century of depicting the sights of the city in prints which culminates in the following century in Piranesi's peerless etchings of Rome. What sets van Wittel apart from earlier printmakers of Roman urban buildings and spaces was the practice he soon began of translating his views into paint. The market for his views of the Eternal City was good. During a period of more than thirty years he produced several versions of the most important sights. His innovative sun-drenched vedute done in light tonalities had little influence in his native land but they had an enduring effect in Italy where they set examples for leading eighteenth-century Italian veduta painters including Pannini in Rome and Guardi and Canaletto in Venice.
–- S*>#Veduta di Bracciano, del Lago e del Palazzo Odescalchi (1697, 86x171cm; 455x900pix, 63kb) _ Estimated at €250'000 to 350'000, it sold for €1'508'250 at auction at Sotheby's in Milan on 30 May 2006 _ Questa bellissima Veduta di Bracciano, con vista sul lago e sul castello in posizione centrale, è stata probabilmente commissionata a Vanvitelli dall’illustre famiglia Odescalchi in seguito all’acquisto del ducato nel 1696. Probabile pendant della Veduta del Castello di Palo, anch'esso feudo Odescalchi. Le due vedute hanno le stesse misure e furono evidentemente dipinte da Gaspare van Wittel per Livio Odescalchi, nipote del papa Innocenzo XI che, ottenuto dall’imperatore Leopoldo I il titolo di principe dell’impero, acquistò nel 1693 il castello di Palo e tre anni dopo quello di Bracciano. Livio Odescalchi, esponente della ricca e colta nobiltà del tempo, ambiva probabilmente ad avere una rappresentazione veritiera dei propri possedimenti, moderna e originale nel contempo, che testimoniasse il suo rango e trovò in van Wittel un interprete adeguato. L’artista univa la tendenza di tradizione nordica a cogliere l’attualità vissuta del reale in un paesaggio lineare a una straordinaria accuratezza topografica, derivante dalla sua prima attività romana come disegnatore al servizio del connazionale Cornelis Meyer, ingegnere idraulico per cui mise in disegno numerosi e spesso utopistici progetti ingegneristici. Dopo il 1696, quando il castello fu acquistato dalla famiglia Odescalchi e quindi fu probabilmente commissionato la tela a Vanvitelli. La presenza della quadrettatura sulla carta del disegno ci mostra il metodo che sottende l’ideazione della composizione, impostata su rigorosi principi di visione e procedimenti tecnici, nonché il carattere originalissimo delle vedute del maestro olandese, improntate a uno straordinario realismo topografico. Tale metodo consente al pittore realizzazioni incredibilmente aderenti al luogo: il formato orizzontale permette di inglobare nella tela una sezione di spazio più ampio ed estendere fino al massimo limite consentito la visione; l’uso di una prospettiva mai deformata, se non in misura appena percettibile, che spesso fa coincidere il punto di vista del piano di terra della veduta con il piano di terra reale, raggiunge tagli compositivi originali e inediti. Questa stupenda tela rivela il preciso interesse vedutistico di van Wittel, in cui prevale l’indagine sulla vita e sull’aspetto reale dei luoghi. Rispetto al disegno preparatorio, il dipinto inserisce in primo piano un brano di bosco in ombra e dei prati attraversati da figure a piedi e a cavallo, viandanti, pastori, contadini e una fontana in pietra, che definiscono una quinta prospettica che rende attuale, umano e concreto il paesaggio cristallino, fissato in secondo piano con una meticolosità straordinaria. La veduta, ripresa dalla strada che si snoda alle spalle del borgo, rispecchia lo stesso punto di vista del disegno, con il castello illuminato dal sole in posizione centrale ed elevato su un’altura, su cui sono arroccati i palazzi, le case, le chiese, i campanili, i campi e gli orti che digradano verso il lago. Sullo sfondo è l’azzurro cristallino del lago di Bracciano che si fonde nelle tinte azzurrate del cielo e delle colline.
–- Piazza del Popolo, Rome (21x41cm; 600x1200pix, 82kb _ .ZOOM to 900x1799pix, 200kb) _ Piazza del Popolo, at the time of Vanvitelli, was one of the main entrances to Rome. The renovations of the square ordered by Pope Alexander VII Chigi (1655-1667) included Bernini's restoration of the entrance gate in 1655, to celebrate the arrival of Queen Christina of Sweden, and the construction of the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli by Carlo Rainaldi in 1661. _ Compare:
_ Piazza del Popolo (420x309pix, 33kb) by Alexander Luigi Di Meglio [1964~].
Piazza del Popolo, Rome (1678 etching) _ Van Wittel starts in Italy by following the tradition established in the sixteenth century of depicting the sights of the city in prints which culminates in the following century in Piranesi's peerless etchings of Rome. One of van Wittel's etchings is a panoramic view of Piazza del Popolo, doubtlessly based on a lost drawing, made from the top of Porta del Popolo, the main entrance to the city for travelers arriving from the north.
— Piazza Navona, Rome (1699, 96x216cm; 324x728pix, 109kb) _ 4 details
–- Naples, the Darsena (1712, 56x110cm; 441x868pix, 52kb _ .ZOOM to 662x1302pix, 88kb) _ The Darsena, which lies just beside the Arsenal, was built in 1688 upon the orders of the Viceroy Don Pietro d'Aragona, who first gave the work to Bonaventura Presti and then to Cafaro and Picchiatti. Shops intended to serve both the jail and hospital for sick prisoners were built around the Darsena, in the same complex. This particular view was one of Vanvitelli's most successful. He achieved the incredible depth and breadth of perspective by taking the old jetty (molo) as the standpoint, looking inwards as far back as the Castel Sant'Elmo and Certosa di San Martino which are visible on the hill in the center background. Given the numerous views of the Darsena which are known today, it is probable that this was one of Vanvitelli's most popular vedute amongst Italian and foreign patrons alike. Nineteen different versions are known; the earliest of 1699 and the latest of 1722. All the known views are of exceptionally high quality and no version is exactly the same: although the general placement of architectural elements is broadly similar in each version, Vanvitelli either changed the staffage or slightly altered the viewpoint in each variant.
— The Darsena, Naples (74x172cm; 308x728pix) _ 4 details
–- S*>#Verona, the River Adige at San Giorgio in Braida (38x45cm; 678x900pix, 94kb) _ This is an intimate and topographically accurate representation of Verona; a historic city that was largely destroyed in the Second World War. Verona was founded in Roman times at the point at which three important trade routes meet, and it continued to expand in Medieval times. By the 16th Century Verona had become an important military stronghold and a vital component of the Venetian Republic, remaining under the latter’s control until the end of the 18th Century. Though not as vital a stop on the Italian Grand Tour as Florence or Rome, its vicinity to Venice made Verona a popular destination for foreign visitors and merchants. Other vedutistas, such as Luca Carlevarijs, Antonio Joli, and Bernardo Bellotto, have also painted Verona. Vanvitelli must have been one of the first, probably stopping in Verona about 1694, at the time of his stay in Venice. Together with a drawing taken from the same viewpoint as this painting, and four other painted versions by Vanvitelli, are an important testimony to the appearance of Verona’s city walls, prior to their destruction at the end of the 19th Century. The mill on the river Adige, also visible in the drawing, is known to have existed until the early part of the 20th Century.
–- S*>#The Arch of Titus, Rome (31x40cm; 850x1120pix, 226kb) people are strolling among the ruins. There is another Vanvitelli picture of similar composition. Though the overall mise-en-scène is the same in both pictures, with the Arch of Titus shown slightly right of center, there are some architectural differences between the two and the staffage has also been changed significantly. In the present version Vanvitelli has chosen to omit the Palazzina degli Orti Farnesiani, visible upper left in the other painting, and the arched ruins center left have here been replaced with a simple brick wall. Both scenes are bathed in a late-afternoon light.The present variant does appear to have a greater sense of depth, the row of trees in the center helping to guide our eye through the archway to the Campo Vaccino beyond. The Arch of Titus was painted by Vanvitelli on several other occasions: five are on canvas, one on copper, and one is a tempera. Of these only one, of 1714, is of horizontal format. The Arch was frequently painted by vedutisti throughout the 18th century, and many chose to portray it from this side because of the bas-relief’s better state of preservation: compare, for example, Bernardo Bellotto’s canvas of circa 1744, and Roman Ruins with the Arch of Titus (1734, 75x105cm) of Giovanni Paolo Panini.
The Arch of Titus was erected in A.D. 81-82 to honor the victories of Titus and Vespasian in the Judean War, which had ended the Sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The inscription on a marble slab, which in Vanvitelli’s view appears cracked and fragmented, was subsequently restored; indeed it appears whole in both Bellotto and Panini’s renditions dating from later in the century. In 1821 Giuseppe Valadier undertook a restoration project for the Arch, ordering it to be taken down and reconstructed in isolation, at the same time completing any missing parts with travertine. Through the Arch on the left we see the Farnese Gardens (Orti Farnesiani), contained behind Vignola’s 16th-century wall (since demolished). Beyond that is the Campo Vaccino with two of the three columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux visible in the sunlight, and on the horizon the tower of the Campidoglio soars above the trees. The foreground area, by comparison with Vanvitelli’s other vertical-format views of the site, would appear to be the fruit of the artist’s imagination. See the present state of the Arch in this photo of the Arch of Titus (1565x2128pix, 436kb)
–- The Vatican seen from Prati di Castello (46x75cm; 535x900pix, 47kb) _ This is the only surviving painting of this view of Rome by Vanvitelli. The view and composition exemplify the innovations that Vanvitelli brought to view painting in Rome in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Nicknamed "Gasparo dagli Occhiali", Vanvitelli is first recorded in Rome in 1675, and apart from a few visits to Venice and northern Italy and a stay in Naples in 1700-1701, was to stay there for the remainder of his life. From his earliest works in the 1680s and 1690s he broke new ground by eschewing the earlier traditions of depictions of the famous remnants of the old Roman city, introducing in their stead a directness of observation and originality of viewpoint that were quite without precedent. His first painted vedute date from 1680, and by the following decade his mature style was established, and would alter little for the rest of his career. His combination of careful description and panoramic perspective won him many patrons from among the Roman nobility and visiting British Grand Tourists; Matthew Bettingham, writing later in 1773 would state that "The Justness of Occhiali's Perspective Views, and the fine glow of his Flemish coloring, are Excellencies perhaps not to be met with in the Works of any other painter". This view of St. Peter's and the Vatican epitomises Vanvitelli's innovations: the famous cupola and Basilica of Saint Peter's, more normally depicted from an elevated viewpoint in front of Bernini's famous piazza, are instead glimpsed from the point of view of a traveler approaching the Eternal City through the area of meadows to the north-east, the Prati di Castello. The viewer is heading south-west along the old road leading to the Porta Angelica, which can be clearly seen on the left of the composition. Beyond the Porta Angelica can be seen the obelisk in the center of the Piazza San Pietro, and to its right can be glimpsed the statues which adorn the top of Bernini's famous colonnade. On the hills in a line directly behind the obelisk rises the Villa Cesi. The centre of the composition is dominated from left to right by the palaces of the Vatican, the dome of St. Peter's, the Belvedere and the back of the Nicchione. On the far right can be seen the trees and the small tower (or turrione) which marks the farthest extent of the Vatican gardens. It is unusual at this period to find such a view taken so far from the city's more famous or inhabited areas. Despite their distance, the meadows and fields of the Prati di Castello were evidently a favorite sketching ground of Vanvitelli, and a number of his most original views of the city are taken from this neighborhood. These include, for example, a canvas of similar dimensions to the present work depicting the Castel Sant'Angelo, and two temperas of 1683 looking over the Campo Marzio and towards St. Peter's from the road to the Porta Castello. The source of Vanvitelli's composition is his own drawing in red chalk, ink and wash on squared paper (35x94cm). The drawing is one of a series of fifty-two views of the cityscape of Rome made in situ by Vanvitelli, which remain among his most original creations. The drawings were made from life and then completed in the studio, where some were squared for transfer and used as the basis for his canvases and gouaches. Painted versions of many of their compositions are known, often running into multiple versions. The present painting's choice of viewpoint seems to have been rare among Vanvitelli's contemporaries and successors. The only comparable prospect is undoubtedly Panini's View of Rome from Monte Mario (1759), which is taken from a viewpoint further south of the road and to the west of the present view.
–- Shipping near San Giorgio Maggiore Island (20x91cm; 273x1350pix, 29kb)
–- Shipping near San Michele and Murano Islands (20x91cm; 283x1350pix, 29kb) _ It is not known exactly when Vanvitelli visited Venice for the first time, though he is thought to have passed through it on his way to Rome in 1674. His first dated Venetian work is The Molo, Piazzetta and Palazzo Ducale (1697), though he probably visited Venice prior to that date. About forty paintings and drawings of Venice have survived, variously dated between 1697 and 1721. Vanvitelli painted the islands of San Giorgio, San Michele, and Murano on other occasions, though he never adopted such a wide viewpoint as in this pair and the shipping vessels are painted in much greater detail here than in all the other variants.
The view of the island of San Giorgio is taken from the Bacino di San Marco and Vanvitelli has included the island of the Giudecca to the right of it, to a greater degree than in all the other known versions, and the campanile of the church of San Giovanni Battista is clearly visible.
Of the view of the islands of San Michele and Murano three other variants are known; none shows San Michele in its entirety as here. This view appears to be taken from the tip of the Fondamenta Nuove.
The elongated format of these two canvases indicate that the paintings were probably commissioned with a specific function and location in mind; to serve as over doors.
–- The Tiber at the Ponte Rotto, the Aventine Hill beyond (23x44cm; 471x900pix, 46kb _ .ZOOM to 707x1350pix, 87kb) _ This view is taken from the left bank of the river Tiber, roughly at the southern point of the Isola Tiberina. On the extreme left is an arch (in front of which laundry has been hung out to dry) and this structure, which is recorded in Falda's map of 1676, was situated between the river and the road leading to the church of Santa Maria Egiziaca. The church of Santa Maria Egiziaca, partially visible beyond the arch, had been converted from a roman temple called the Tempio della Fortuna Virile. The campanile of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and the rounded Temple of Vesta beside it, which at the time of Vanvitelli housed the church of Santa Maria del Sole (and before that Santo Stefano delle Carrozze), rise at the left of the composition. The houses nearby once formed part of the convent annexed to that church and beside them was a terraced garden, below which the Cloaca Massima opened into the Tiber. The Aventine Hill rises in the center distance, with its medieval towers and walls surrounding the religious complex of Santa Sabina, Sant' Alessio and the church of the Priorato dei Cavalieri Gerosolimitani. At the extreme right of the composition, on the right bank of the Tiber, is the church of San Salvatore (now destroyed). The Ponte Rotto, which is the focal point of this particular view, had been built by Pope Gregory XIII and was completed in 1575, replacing an earlier bridge built by Pope Julius III which had been destroyed in the flood of 1557. In 1598 Gregory's bridge was also partially destroyed during a flood and was never repaired: it can still be seen today, very much as it appears in this painting. Although eight other variants of this composition are known, and all are on a relatively small scale, they all differ in the placement of boats and staffage. Of those published, only four are paintings whilst the remaining four are done in tempera. However much these views differ in their details, they probably all derive from a preparatory drawing which is of an elongated format very similar to that adopted in the present canvas. Three of Vanvitelli's known versions of this view are dated (1681, 1684 and 1685) and most of the others have been dated to the 1680s, a date which also seems plausible for the present work.
— Lake Maggiore with the Isola Bella (1715, 50x99cm; 487x1000pix, 224kb) large areas yellowed by aging, in need of restauration. The elongated format of this painting indicates that it may have originally functioned as an overdoor or sovrapporta. Gaspar van Wittel (later Italianized to Vanvitelli) was one of the most successful Northern landscape painters to enter the mainstream of artistic life in Italy in the 17th century. In spite of the fact that so many Northern artists came to Rome in the first half of the 17th century, few found patrons there and few sold their works; most of the output of these artists, the so-called Bamboccianti and Italianate landscape painters, was sent back to Holland where it found a far more receptive market. A local demand for Vanvitelli's pictures as well as to fill orders for views of Rome to be taken home by the various English aristocrats on the Grand Tour. Already by 1689 Vanvitelli was working for the influential Colonna family (producing over 100 pictures for them before his death), as well as English clients desirous of souvenirs of their Roman sojourns. After several trips around Italy, including an extended stay in Naples, Vanvitelli returned to Rome in 1701; was elected to Accademia di San Luca in 1711 and worked with great success in the city for the rest of his life. This particular view of Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore must have been quite popular, Vanvitelli repeated it in over ten paintings and gouaches. The dated pictures range from 1684 (or 1683, if one includes the etching mentioned above) to 1718. Vanvitelli's unpretentious presentation, his crystaline clarity of vision, and his realistic approach to topography was entirely new to the Italian world of classical landscape painting. Venetian painters, including Luca Carlivarijs and Canaletto (who came to Rome circa 1719) must certainly have noted his radical new approach to view painting. Vanvitelli's influence on subsequent generations of view painters was profound and was felt both in Italy and throughout Europe.
–- Apse of Saint Peter's Basilica (444x865pix, 38kb _ .ZOOM to 666x1298pix, 66kb)