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Lake Avernus - I
York Art Gallery / York Museums Trust, presented by F.D. Lycett Green through The Art Fund, 1955
Ascribed to Wilson
Lake Avernus - I
Oil on canvas
43.2 x 54 cm
17 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.
A view across the lake towards a ruined temple with hills beyond. In the foreground, on the left, stands a tree. In the centre are three figures, two men, one seated on a log, and one woman gesticulating. To the right is an open tomb and more trees. Beyond the group of figures a man bends down to his boat on the lake.
Presented by F.D. Lycett Green through the National Art Collections Fund 1955
Lake Avernus lies on the Tyrrhenian coast of Italy, about a mile from Cumae. Filling the crater of an extinct volcano, mephitic vapours rise from its waters, precluding life on its banks, because of which it was believed to be the entrance to the Underworld by the Ancients. Thus in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneas sacrifices to the gods in the shadow of the forest surrounding Lake Avernus and then follows the Delphic sibyl into her cave and down in to the Underworld.
E16 Roberts after Wilson, A View in Italy, The British Museum
E16A Roberts after Wilson, Lake Avernus (A View in Italy), National Museum Wales, Cardiff
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This painting was part of a collection of 117 works belonging to the industrialist and engineer F.D. Lycett Green and bequeathed to York through the Art Fund, in 1955, in recognition of the remarkable efforts made after the Second World War by its curator to transform it into a gallery of international importance.
WGC, p. 194 under Pl. 69a; York Art Gallery Catalogue 1963, inv.no. 834 pl. 19 as ascribed
The gesturing woman might be a sybil. The ruined temple has been identified as the Temple of Apollo.
Relined. There is a line about 1.3 cm. in from each vertical edge where the canvas appears to have been once folded