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Acqua Acetosa (View down the Tiber with Bernini's Edicola on the Left)
Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Japan
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Acqua Acetosa (View down the Tiber with Bernini's Edicola on the Left)
c.1754 (undated)
Oil on canvas
99.1 x 137.2 cm
39 x 54 in.
In the foreground a group of men are playing bowls, providing an intimate note as a contemporary point of reference, in contrast to the overall grandeur of the composition and its intellectual and historical references. More distant fiogures are strenuously engaged in towing a barge at the edge of the Tiber and a seateds figure is drawing in the peaceful enclave of the Edicola.
BI Loan Exhibition 1852 (129 Italian Landscape, lent the Revd. Harvey [sic] Lee; Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts & Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Sun, Wind & Rain 1992-93 (16)
Possibly Stephen Beckingham, commissioned by him with three other paintings in 1754; the Revd Harry Lee (1793-1880), Rector of North Bradley near Trowbridge Wiltshire from 1832; W.B. Lee, North Bradley; Private Collection, West Country c.1960-1990; with Agnew & Co. Ltd, 1991; acquired by the Tochigi Museum, 1996
This painting evokes a feeling of wistful nostalgia, a chacateristic of Wilson's Roman paintings, largely achieved through the contrast of the cool beauty of the distant landscape and the airy sky with the sombre tones and looming shapes of trees and broken masonry which decorate the foreground.
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[1] Francis Towne (1739-1816): Banks of the Tiber, near Ponte Molle, watercolour, 1780, The British Museum (Nn,2.4)
One of a small number of landscapes painted by Wilson while actually in Italy. Other examples include P56, P57, P64, P66, P67 and P69. As a group, these may be counted among his most beautiful and occupy a unique place in the development of landscape painting.
Clark & Bowron 1985, p. 254, cat. 164