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Rome: St Peter's and the Vatican from the Janiculum
Tate, London 2014
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Rome: St Peter's and the Vatican from the Janiculum
c.1753-54 (undated)
Oil on canvas
100.3 x 139.1 cm
39 1/2 x 54 3/4 in.
T01873
P57
The view extends over Rome to the north west from the Janiculum Hill in Trastevere. The landscape to the north of the city, on the left, is dominated by the Vatican, with the dome of St Peter's and the Roman Campagna beyond. On the horizon, to the right, is Mount Soratte (Soracte to the ancient Romans). In the right foreground is a famous antique relief from the Medici collection showing Maenads leading a bull to sacrifice.
BI 1814 (197/201 A View of Rome); BI 1844 (141 or 147); Manchester 1857 (Modern Masters, 34 - Rome, with St Peter's); Royal Academy, Old Master Exhibition, 1879 (234 - View of St Peter's Rome); Birmingham 1948-49 (18); London 1949 (17); Manchester 1957 (190); Norwich 1958 (60); Munich 1979-80 (92); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (68); London 1996-97 (92); Tercentenary 2014 (61)
Commissioned or purchased in Rome by William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth; by descent to Lady Templemore; sold May 1974 to the Tate Gallery, London with assistance from the National Art Collections Fund and an anonymous donor through John Baskett Ltd, 173 New Bond Street, London W.1.
Unsigned; no inscription
This prospect is now largely obscured by buildings. In antiquity the Janiculum Hill was known for noble villas, military triumphs, ancient burials and Christian martyrdoms. In the 17th and 18th centuries the area had associations with the Pamphilj family, one of whom, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Pamphilj, reigned as Pope Innocent X from 1644 to 1655. The prospect was equally famous with that of its pendant, P56 Rome from the Villa Madama, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.
D311 View of St Peter's and the Vatican from the Janiculum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
E59 Samuel Middiman, View of Rome, for Forster's British Gallery of Engravings, 1807
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Pendant P56 Rome from the Villa Madama, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
The second of two views of Rome commissioned by Lord Dartmouth, one of Wilson's key patrons in Italy, this is one of Wilson's most ambitious early Italian landscapes. The design seems to have been in emulation of Orizzonte and Claude. This is the earliest version of the subject and was painted as a pair to P56, which is dated 1753. The city of Rome is seen from a greater distance than in the related drawing D311 (see 'Related Drawings' below).
Ford 1951, p. 21; Ford 1952, pp. 311-12, fig.3; Waterhouse 1953, p. 175; WGC, pp. 33, 71, 220, pl. 110a; Howard 1969, p. 732, fig. 21; Tate Gallery Report, 1974-6, March 1976; Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London, Tate Gallery, 1978, pp. 42-43; Solkin, 1982, p. 186; Clark & Bowron 1985, p. 267 under cat. 195; Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 249
one of Wilson's key patrons in Italy, this is one of Wilson's most ambitious early Italian landscape paintings.
Framed in a period rococo frame identical in design to that of its pendant, P56 (see 'Related Paintings' below). Dimensions with frame: 101 x 157.5 x 90 cm. Cleaned at the Tate Gallery 1974. Visual examination and sampling by Ann Baxter. Kate Lowry has noted: White priming; unusually thick paint in foreground darks, which suffer from drying crackle; sky consists of several layers of Prussian blue mixed with lead white; the upper layer of sky paint contains ultramarine.
28/08/2018