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Landscape with Temple of Clitumnus near Spoleto
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Landscape with Temple of Clitumnus near Spoleto
c.1755 (undated)
Oil on canvas
20 x 29 1/2in.
Wilson described the essence of this view as 'the scenery taken from the long famed [Temple of] Clitumnus, near the once mystic temple of Juno which I have herein restored from its state in ruins, as seen near the source gently cascading into the streamlet, from whence flows that classic river. The period of time described produces the effects of those lights which succeeds the dawn of day, interspersed with the vapours and subdued tints that accompany the morning atmosphere.'
An alleged signature was not apparent
The setting is a temple supposedly once the sanctuary of the god Clitumnus, near Spoleto in Umbria, which was converted into a Christian church in the 4th century. AD..stands beside the source of a spring from which rises the river also known as Clitumnus.
E8 Giuseppe Vasi after Wilson, Veduta del Tempio, e Fiume del Clitunno nello Stato presente, The British Museum
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[1] J.M.W. Turner, Wilson Sketchbook, 1796-97, p. pp. 78-79, Tate, London
WGC, p. 197, pl. 75b (version 4)
Kate Lowry has noted: Oil on coarse plain weave canvas. Glue relined. Original turnover survives along top edge and is unprimed. Pale grey ground was applied after stretching up of canvas. Stretcher size: 510 x 748mm with painted canvas slightly smaller in height. Paint quite thickly applied in highlights and figures, and otherwise smooth and opaque. Bright blue sky with flat cloud shape similar in style to Tate Rome from the Janiculum painting. Unconvincing 'swiss-roll' style fallen pillars in foreground. Lack of articulation in mid and foreground. Foliage of centre trees is very tight and fussy for Wilson, although painted over a reserve in the sky, but without any of the reserve left exposed. Not signed or dated.