350 Items No items selected
Lake Nemi and Genzano from the Terrace of the Capuchin Monastery
Image copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florence 2014
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Nemi and Genzano from the Terrace of the Capuchin Monastery
c.1756-57 (undated)
Oil on canvas
42.9 x 53.7 cm
16 7/8 x 21 1/8 in.
05.32.3
P72
The view is from the terrace of the Capuchin monastery near the hilltop town of Genzano about 20 kilometers south west of Rome. In the middle distance is the Palazzo Sforza Cesarini with the southern end of Lake Nemi to its left and a view of Monte Circeo and the Mediterranean beyond. Next to the palazzo are the church and bell tower of Santa Maria della Cima.
BI 1814 (174 Lake of Nemi, lent by Lady Ford); BI 1851 (139 Genzano and the Lake of Nemi, lent by Richard Ford); Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Landscape Painting in the East and West, 19 April - 1 June 1986 (7); Kobe City Museum, Landscape Painting in the East and West, 7 June - 13 July 1986 (7); New York 2010 (6); Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 6, 2012 - January 4, 2013 (3); Beijing, National Museum of China, Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 8 - May 9, 2013 (3); Tercentenary 2014 (47)
William Lock (1732-1810), Norbury Park near Leatherhead Surrey; William Parsons (1736-95); Benjamin Booth, London by 1790; the Revd. R.S. Booth (d. 1807); Marianne, Lady Ford; Richard Ford (from 1849 - at least 1851); the Hon. G.A.F. Cavendish-Bentick; his sale, Christie's, 11 July 1891 (537 An Italian Lake Scene, with figures on a terrace and buildings on a rock in the background 17 in. by 20 1/2 in.), bt Lesser, London for £31-10-0; George A. Hearn New York; given to the Metropolitan Museum, 1905
Unsigned; no inscription
[1] Lady Ford's red wax seal on verso stretcher bar
The volcanic Lake Nemi, surrounded by the wooded slopes of the Alban Hills, was spectacularly sited and much praised by ancient writers including Virgil and Ovid. It was also renowned for the sanctuary of the goddess Diana on its northern shore. Depicted on numerous occasions by Wilson, in the 17th century it had featured much in the paintings of his mentors, Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet.
Genzano (Genzano di Roma since 1873) is one of the Castelli Romani. The Cesarini family gained control of it in 1564. Livia Cesarini, last of the line, was the wife of Francesco II Sforza, after both of whom the palazzo depicted took its name.
D280/6 Italian Sketchbook p. 7(r), Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
D313 The Terrace of the Capuchin Monastery at Gezsano, Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
E72/6 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, The Lake of Nemi, The British Museum
Very probably painted with other Italian views soon after Wilson's return to England, though the dating has been questioned on stylistic grounds, notably by Solkin. In these paintings, the late afternoon sunlight infuses the scene with a glowing warmth evoking a mood of nostalgic reverie.
Booth Notes, Doc. 9 (25); Hastings 1825, p. 18; Bury 1947, p. 68; Ford 1948, p. 345; Ford 1951, p. 61; WGC, pp. 35-36, 41, 82-83, 110-11, 125, 208-9, pl. 95a; Constable 1954, p. 147; Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 2, pp.19, 28-29, fig. 26; M. Cormack et al. 'Selection II: British Watercolors and Drawings from the Museum's Collection', Bulletin of Rhode Island School of Design, LVIII, April 1972, p. 233; Solkin 1982, p. 171; K. Baetjer 2009, no. 25, pp. 57-59 repr; Feigen 2010, no.6; Peter Barnet and Wendy A. Stein in Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 2012, ill. pp. 3637, 45 (colour); Keith Christiansen, Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 2012, p. 207.; Wilson and Europe 2014, pp. 239-40
Constable states that 'in a list of Wilson's paintings (doc.5, unpublished) Booth also records, 'A View of an Italian Villa from a convent garden In colln Dr. Woolcot', and 'A View of Caesarini Villa Jensano and its Lake from a Convent Garden Late Parsons, now 1790 in the Booth's Colln'. In another document (no. 8) there is a reference to 'Nemi with Monks in a Garden' (but no owner details given) and 'Do. with the Convent - Sr G. Beaumont'. No painting of the subject is mentioned in this document as belonging to William Lock. This suggests the line of ownership of the Booth picture was Lock-Parsons-Booth. Whether the Woolcot picture is the same or another painting is uncertain; also whether the painting without an owner and the Beaumont picture, are independent versions. There is no record of when the picture left the Ford family collection nor any firm evidence of its whereabouts until acquired by George A. Hearn, probably in the later 19th century.