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The Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome
Private Collection, England / Photograph by John Hammond
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome
c.1753-54 (undated)
Oil on canvas
48.3 x 62.2 cm
19 x 24 1/2 in.
Private Collection, England
BB11
P60
As proposed by Jonathan Yarker, the view was probably taken from a slight incline in the Orto Serena, identified by the antiquarian Ridolfo Venuta as a defenibiana are visible sive mound associated with Tarquin, one of Rome's earliest kings. The facade and campanile of the church of Santa Bibiana are visible in a modified format beyond to the left.
Brighton 1920 (29 - Landscape); Exeter 1946 (66); Birmingham 1948-49 (21) London 1949 (20); Norwich 1958 (58); Rome 1959 (667); London 1968 (21); London Arts Council, The Age of Neo-Classicism, 1972 (280); Kenwood 1974 (148); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (69); Conwy 2009 (4); Weston 2011 (10); Gainsborough House 2014 (unnumbered)
Benjamin Booth; thence by descent
The foreground is extremely dark
The so-called temple of Minerva the Doctor was located next to the Porta Maggiore in Rome, on agricultural land within the ancient Aurelian walls. It' was a popular subject for painters and had been featured at length by Palladio in (Archittetura IV. One of the most famous and frequently reproduced monuments in 18th century Rome, it had actually been a nymphaeum, or hall for ceremonial receptions, built for the Emperor P. Licinius Gallienus (235-268 AD). Today the building faces the Via Giolitti, between the Via Labicana and the Aurelian Walls. Its distinctive decagonal dome collapsed in 1828.
D317 The Temple of Minerva Medica ,Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
D317A The Temple of Minerva Medica, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
E72/28 Hastings after Wilson, Temple of Minerva Medica, The British Museum (1854,0708.85)
[1] Francis Towne (1739-1816): The Temple of Minerva at Sunset, watercolour, 1781, The British Museum (Nn,1.19)
[2] J.-B.-C. Corot, Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome, 1826, Musées d'Angers
The atmosphere of picturesque decay is accentuated by the presence of the two contadini in the foreground.
Booth Notes Doc. 8, p. 2; Booth Notes Doc. 9 (*34); Hastings 1825, p. 3 n.; Bury 1947, pl. 32; Ford 1951, p. 59; WGC, pp. 35, 82, 206, pl. 89; Solkin 1982, pp. 186-87; Walpole Society 1998-1, pp. 14-15, pl. 16; Lord 2009, p. 49, no. 4; Williams 2011, p. 21, repr.
Wilson included a drawing of the building among the series that he made for William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (D317 see 'Related Drawings'). The painting was probably also executed in Rome. Thomas Hastings commented that Constable held this work in special regard, believing that it 'went far beyond anything he ever saw of Wilson's works and that, in his opinion, it possessed all the rigidity of the Italian School, with the great breadth so natural to the Master'.