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The West Belvedere at Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli (Hadrian's Villa, near Tivoli)
Manchester City Galleries
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The West Belvedere at Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli (Hadrian's Villa, near Tivoli)
1763-65 (undated)
Oil on canvas
42.8 x 52.9 cm
16 7/8 x 20 13/16 in.
1917.175
P139
Rural scene depicting Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli in Italy. Viewed from the left bank of a river, ruined arches and a small stone building with pitched roof can be seen in the foreground. A figure stands upon the arches beside the dwelling, leaning over wooden railings from which washing is hanging. Below two figures rest beside a track running down the bank towards the river. The view from riverbank extends across a wooded landscape towards the hills in distance. The sky is deep blue with scattered clouds.
Manchester 1925 (14); Manchester City Art Gallery, British Art 1934 (64); Southampton, University Collection, 1936; Birmingham 1948-49 (40); London 1949 (39); Paris 1953 (91 - Sur la Strada Nomentana); Manchester City Art Gallery John Constable, 1959 (7); Welsh Arts Council Richard Wilson, Painter, 1969 (8, repr.); London, David Carritt Ltd, Some Masterpieces from Manchester City Art Gallery, June-July 1983 (28)
James Thomas Blair, Whalley Range, Manchester; James Blair Bequest, 1917
Unsigned; no inscription
Hadrian's Villa was begun during the emperor's reign in 125 AD and completed ten years later. It was planned so as to reproduce on one site all the famous buildings that the emperor had seen in Greece and Egypt. Later it was plundered by invaders and not excavated and restored until the Renaissance.
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WGC, p. 202, pl. 80b; Waterhouse 1953, p. 176; Manchester City Art Gallery, Concise Catalogue of British Paintings, 1976, vol. 1
Kate Lowry has noted: Appears to be in excellent condition. A very bright, sparkling picture in fluid style; of particular note are the shadow of the roof beams cast on the wall of the building, the washing on the balcony rail and the foreground figures. Typical of Wilson is the dragging of the sky paint up to the edges of the building and down to the horizon.