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Strada Nomentana - II (View on the Strada Nomentana)
Private Collection, South Africa
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Strada Nomentana - II (View on the Strada Nomentana)
Oil on canvas
48.4 x 61.1 cm
19 1/16 x 24 1/16 in.
Private Collection, South Africa
A ruined ancient tomb on the banks of a stream at sunset, with a man, two children and two hounds reflected in the water. To the right are large rocks and trees. A serpentine path traversed by two small figures leads towards a row of trees in the left distance. Further away in the centre are ancient buildings and mountains.
Probably Sir William Bellairs (1793-1863), Mulbarton Lodge, Mulbarton, Norfolk; his son, Major-General Sir William Bellairs (1828-1913), Clevedon, Somerset; [...] Sotheby's London, 6 July 1977 (128); Sotheby's London, 8 March 1989 (79)
Unsigned; no inscription
The ruin has been identified as the 'Sedia del Diavolo', actually the tomb of Elio Callistio, one of many ancient sepulchres to be found along the Via Nomentana, leading north-east out of Rome. In Wilson's day it was well outside the city but now stands in the Piazza Elio Callistio in the urban Trieste district.
E39 Joseph Farington (1747-1821) after Wilson, Twelve Etchings of Views in Italy - In the Strada Nomentana, 1776, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven (B1977.14.21011(h)) and other impressions
E72/23 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, View on the Strada Nomentana in Italy, The British Museum (1854,0708.80) and other impressions
[1] Francis Towne (1739-1816): A Sepulchre by the Roadside going from Rome to the Ponte Nomentana, watercolour, 1780, The British Museum (Nn,2.14)
Wilson included this structure in several other paintings, for example P68 Classical Landscape with Venus, Adonis and Cupids, Victoria & Albert Museum. However it is doubtful whether the subject was here intended to do more than signify a generalised image of Roman imperial greatness in decay. The summary style and bright colours of the figures' clothing indicate that this version is likely to be a later replica by the artist.
WGC, p. 210, pl. 96b (version 2) [?]
The Via Nomentana runs north east from Rome to Nomentum (Mentana), passing near the Alban Hills