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The Temple of Minerva Medica
Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Temple of Minerva Medica
c.1754 (undated)
Black chalk, graphite and stump on wove grey paper
321 x 409 mm
12 5/8 x 16 1/8 in.
D.1935.19
D317A
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 mound associated with Tarquin, one of Rome's earliest kings. The façade and campanile of the church of Santa Bibiana are visible in a modified format beyond to the left. In the centre foreground two women are seen from behind, followed by a faintly discernible sheep. At the lower right a mother sits at the foot of a flight of steps with her daughter, who stands and points.
Royal Society of British Artists 1948; Amsterdam 1965 (141); London Victoria & Albert 1968 (70)
Arthur Edward Anderson; presented to the Whitworth Art Gallery, 1935
Inscribed in black ink, lower right margin: temple di Minerva Medica
The so-called temple of Minerva 'the physician' 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 (235-68 AD). Today the building faces the Via Giolitti, between the Via Labicana and the Aurelian Walls. Its distinctive decagonal dome collapsed in 1828.
D317 Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
E72/28 Hastings after Wilson, Temple of Minerva Medica, The British Museum (1854,0708.85)
P60 The Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome, Private Collection, England
[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 present drawing is close in composition to P60. It is likely, therefore be after the painting, rather than preparatory for it. In contrast, D317 - an independent, presentation drawing - differs in its viewpoint and in numerous details.
1659
Ford 1951, pp. 59-60, under pl. 55; WGC, p. 206 under pl. 89b; C. Nugent, British Watercolours in the Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, 2003, p. 288
A drawing of the temple of Minerva Medica was in the Paul Sandby sale, Christie's 3 May 1811 (95)
Laid down. The image is enclosed within a double fictive border. Good condition overall but the surface is slightly uneven with a verticall flattened fold running from top to bottom about a third of the way in from the left.
18/10/2018