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Study at Maecenas' Villa, Tivoli
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Study at Maecenas' Villa, Tivoli
1765
Oil on canvas
44 x 35.3 cm (sight size)
17 5/16 x 14 3/4 (sight size)
1903/P9
P137B
The scene features one of the vast arcaded galleries of what was thought at the time to be the ruined Villa of Maecenas. To the right a monk directs a well-dressed lady carrying papers towards a small archway. On the left a river winds its way behind a poplar or cypress tree. The shadows fall sharply from the upper left.
C.& F. Colnaghi, London; James Linton, 31 Coleherne Road London SW; bt by Art Galllery of Western Australia, January 1903
There is lively impasto in the cloud over the central vault. In front of it there are two pentimenti in the branches of the silhouetted tree. Possible pentimenti also appear behind the lady to the right. Small highlights are visible in the clouds upper left. The sky at the left has been drawn down to the horizon and the central vertical of the cypress/poplar tree has been reserved out. The three liunettes below the vault are painted with unusually broad and visible brushstrokes. The fallen column left looks more like a log because of its irregular and highlit upper end. Foreground path and foliage are painted roughly and there is a typical Wilson squiggle in green below the base of the column. The leaning antique figure has yellow highlighting along its left side. The light grey-brown ground seems to be showing through along the short wall just below the leaning column and around as well as under the blue of the lunettes. Dabs of green turning to black denote weeds across the vault and the tunnel. The fork of the silhouetted central high shrub is reserved out with a brownish underpaint showing through. Dark pentimenti are also evident and there are pentimenti visible under the blue of the sky by the foliage top right.
[1] Verso on stretcher: Ruins of the Maecenas Villa painted by R. Wilson for Charles Price Esq. M.P. for Radnorshire
[2] Verso on stretcher: This picture was painted by Richard Wilson R.A. [...] was then in the fifty-second year of his life [1765], and at the height of his practice. Signed Jos. Farington R.A.[...] time [?] pupil to Richard Wilson
D130 Wilson, The Villa of Maecenas at Tivoli, The British Museum
E43 M.A. Rooker after Wilson, Twelve Etchings of Views in Italy - Villa of Maecenas at Tivoli, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
E43A M.A. Rooker after Wilson, Villa of Mæcenas at Tivoli, The British Museum
E43B M.A. Rooker after Wilson, Villa of Mæcenas at Tivoli, The British Museum
E43C M.A. Rooker after Wilson, Villa of Mæcenas at Tivoli, Royal Academy of Arts, London
E43D M.A. Rooker after Wilson,Villa of Mæcenas at Tivoli, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
E43E M.A. Rooker after Wilson, Villa of Mæcenas at Tivoli, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
E88 Prior after Wilson, Ruins in Italy, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
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Tomory & Gaston 1989, p. 51, no. 139 repr.
In a 19th century compo frame with traces of earlier labelling. Stretcher cracks all round and reticulated craquelure overall. Possible blue retouching along the upper vertical left edge and below the bushy foliage at the upper left of the main arch.