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Rome from the Villa Madama (Distant View of Rome from Monte Mario)
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Rome from the Villa Madama (Distant View of Rome from Monte Mario)
c.1763-65
Oil on canvas
100.3 x 135.3 cm
39 1/2 x 53 1/4 in.
4879
P56B
The view is towards the Alban Hills from a vantage point on Monte Mario popularised by Wilson's predecessor, l' Orizzonte. To the right, among the trees, is the Villa Madama, beyond it is Castel Sant'Angelo and on the horizon, the cupolas of Santa Maria Maggiore are visible. Just in front of it, the setting sun is reflected off the facade of Santissima Trinita dei Monti.
SA 1765 (156) and/or RA 1770 (202) - a version; BI 1814 (210/214 - A view of Rome, lent Miss Brooke); London, Royal Academy, Old Masters 1903 (38); London 1925 (39); Manchester 1925 (51); London 1934 (249 - Distant View of Rome); Toronto Art Gallery, Old Masters, 1950 (49); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (110)
Probably the version bought by the Marquis of Tavistock for 100 guineas; Miss Brooke; Sir Frederick Cook, Bart, Doughty House, Richmond Surrey; by descent to Sir Herbert Cook, Bart; bt by National Gallery of Canada, 1948
Signed on the stone ledge, lower left: RW [monogram R reversed]
Much more heavily modelled than P56 and with a greater range of colours.
This is one of several known repetitions of the P56, painted for the Earl of Dartmouth in 1753. The topographical account of contemporary Rome is reflected and contextualised in antiquity by details such as the funeral stele in the foreground.
D225 The Villa Madama, Rome, with a Man seated in the Foreground, Private Collection, England
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[1] Jan Frans van Bloemen, l'Orizzonte (1662-1749), View of Rome from Monte Mario, 1736, ex- Delegazione Montedison, Rome, Sotheby's Milan, 8 June 1994 (268)
[2] Jan Frans van Bloemen l'Orizzonte, A Panoramic View of Rome observed from Monte Mario, Sotheby's London, 8 Dec 2010 (37)
[3] Ford 1951, pl. 40 reproduces a comparable drawing rightly attributed to a pupil.
This painting is much more heavily modelled than P56 and in a greater range of colours. It also varies from P56 in the greater details and the trees at left and right. Ford (1951) thought there were reasons to suggest that it was painted after Wilson's return to England.

According to Edward Edwards, the version exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1765 was bought by the Marquis of Tavistock. Farington also recorded going to Bryant's Gallery in May 1796 with Sir George Beaumont and Nathaniel Dance 'to see the View of Rome by Wilson, which he sold to the Marquiss of Tavistock, 30 years ago for 100 gs.'
Edwards 1808, p. 79; Farington Diary, vol. 2, p. 559 (26 May 1796); Catalogue 1814, p. 22); Cunningham 1830, pp. 198-99; The Athenaeum, 10 January 1903, pp. 56-57; M.W. Brockwell, Catalogue of the Collections of Sir Frederick Cook, vol. 3, 1915, p. 17, no. 402, repr.; Commemorative Catalogue 1934 (114); Ford 1952, p. 311; WGC, p. 218 (version 1 of pl. 107a-b); Solkin 1982, p. 219; R. Beresford, Catalogue of European Paintings, Art Gallery of New South Wales, vol. 1, 2014, pp. 149-52); Solkin 2015, pp. 212-13
One of several repetitions of a view first painted for the Earl of Dartmouth in 1753 (P56 Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection). As noted in Solkin 2015 Wilson was the only British landscapist with direct experience of the fabled sites of Roman antiquity until the return of William Marlow from Europe in 1766.
04/11/2016