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Strada Nomentana - II (View on the Strada Nomentana) (Classical Landscape, Strada Nomentana)
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
Ascribed to Wilson
Strada Nomentana - II (View on the Strada Nomentana) (Classical Landscape, Strada Nomentana)
Oil on canvas
34.3 x 44.4 cm
13 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.
NMW A 5201
A ruined ancient tomb on the banks of a stream at sunset, with a man, two children and two hounds reflected in the water. To the right are large rocks and trees. A serpentine path traversed by two small figures leads towards a row of trees in the left distance. Further away in the centre are ancient buildings and mountains. Ten birds fly prominently in the sky.
Presented by J. Pyke Thompson 1892
The ruin has been identified as the 'Sedia del Diavolo', actually the tomb of Elio Callistio, one of many ancient sepulchres to be found along the Via Nomentana, leading north-east out of Rome. In Wilson's day it was well outside the city but now stands in the Piazza Elio Callistio in the urban Trieste district.
E39 Joseph Farington (1747-1821) after Wilson, Twelve Etchings of Views in Italy - In the Strada Nomentana, 1776, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven (B1977.14.21011(h)) and other impressions
E72/23 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, View on the Strada Nomentana in Italy, The British Museum (1854,0708.80) and other impressions
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[1] Francis Towne (1739-1816): A Sepulchre by the Roadside going from Rome to the Ponte Nomentana, watercolour, 1780, The British Museum (Nn,2.14)
Wilson included this structure in several other paintings, for example P68 Classical Landscape with Venus, Adonis and Cupids, Victoria & Albert Museum. However it is doubtful whether the subject was here intended to do more than signify a generalised image of Roman imperial greatness in decay.
Wright 1824, p. 272 (a version); WGC, p. 210, pl. 96b (version 3)
The Via Nomentana runs north east from Rome to Nomentum (Mentana), passing near the Alban Hills
Kate Lowry has noted: Simple weave linen, lined onto a very fine weave linen which is coated with a reddish oil film at reverse. Animal glue lining adhesive. X-ray examination shows that all the original turnovers, except the top edge, which is cut, have been incorporated into the present image at the face of stretcher. Pine stretcher dates from relining. Commercially-prepared oil ground; a double layer of chalk and lead white. Clear underdrawing visible in IR image.