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Classical Landscape with Boys Bathing
Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / The Bridgeman Art Library
Ascribed to Wilson
Classical Landscape with Boys Bathing
Oil on canvas
88.9 x 116.9 cm
35 x 46 in.
Before a calm wide river dominated by a domed ancient ruin three bathers are embarking on or returning from a swim while a cow and sheep are seen below on the right. Further back on the right bank the ruin, a tower and other buildings are set among woods on the cliffs. Beyond in the left distance are a hill-town and mountains. The sky and clouds are suffused with the golden rays of the sun.
Henry Barran, J.P. (1856-1942), Shadwell Grange, Moor Allerton, Leeds; presented to Leeds City Council, 1913
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J.M.W. Turner, watercolour (T.B. XXXIII-I, Tate, London)
One of numerous idealised landscapes by or after Wilson, based on the scenery he had observed in Italy in the 1750s. The domed ruin in the centre is derived from a building just outside Rome, known in the 18th century as the Temple of Minerva Medica. The bathers in the foreground, with their overtones of classical sculpture, likewise suggest Antiquity. In contrast to those in the other versions, however, both naked figures here seem to be female.
WGC 1953, p. 213, pl. 99b (version 2)