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Tivoli: The Temple of the Sybil and the Campagna - II
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Morrie A. Moss
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Tivoli: The Temple of the Sybil and the Campagna - II
Undated
Oil on canvas
94 x 125.7 cm
37 x 49 1/2 in.
59.26
P143D
The town of Tivoli is seen from the north east across the gorge of the river Aniene (or Anio), with the Roman Campagna and the city of Rome itself in the distance. To the left, on the cliff edge, is a small cluster of ancient buildings. These include the circular Roman Temple of Vesta and the rectangular Temple of the Tiburtine Sibyl.
London Anglo-Japanese Exhibition, 1910 (5); RA Old Masters 1912 (126); Memphis, TN, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Paintings from the Collection of Mr and Mrs Morrie A. Moss, June-September 1955 (17); Detroit & Philadelphia 1968 (3); St. Louis, MO, Washington University Gallery of Art, The Beautiful, The Sublime and the Picturesque, February- April 1984 (1); Minneapolis, MN, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Selections from the Permanent Collection of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, June 1987-July 1989; Memphis, TN, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, In the Campagna, April -June, 1993
Henry de Vere Vane, ninth Baron Barnard, Raby Castle, Darlington, Durham 1918; Scott and Fowles, New York; Mrs J. Henry Lancashire, New York; Lock Galleries, New York; Mr and Mrs Morrie A. Moss, Memphis, Tennessee; gift of Mr and Mrs Morrie A. Moss, 1959
Unsigned; no inscription
Tivoli is about 20 kilometres from Rome, on the lower slopes of the Sabine Hills. Its finest ruin, the so-called Temple of Vesta, is a circular building dating from the 1st century BC. Situated dramatically above a precipice and cascade, it has been admired by artists since the 16th century because of its picturesque location and became a famous attraction for Grand Tourists.
D217 Tivoli with the Temples of Vesta and the Sibyl and the Grand Cascade, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
D280/10 Italian Sketchbook - Drawings pp. 10(v) and 11(r): The Temples of Vesta and the Sibyl at Tivoli, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
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P45 The Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
Like the artist seen sketching in this picture, Richard Wilson must have passed many pleasurable hours drawing the dramatic site, with its distinctive temples and extensive view over the Roman Campagna. The area had also figured in the works of Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet, from whose classic landscapes Wilson's composition derives unmistakably - a wedge of land framed by a tree, the hillside view of the town and the vista of the low plain as it extends toward Rome. This painting, a variant of a composition the artist first painted in 1752 (P45), is likely to have been executed after his return to Britain. By introducing ideal landscape to the next generation, he played a major role in establishing the British school of landscape painters. Even John Constable, who professed no need to go to Italy, was influenced by Wilson and spoke of how his work 'still swims in my brain like a delicious dream.'
WGC pp. 89, 223, 268, 292, pl 116b; W. P. Hindman, 'Morrie Mosses give five more Paintings', The Memphis Press Scimitar, Memphis, TN, 28 August 1959; The Moss Collection Paintings, Memphis, TN, 1964, p. 38 and cover, repr.; R.B. Beckett ed.: John Constable's Correspondence, vol . 6, Ipswich 1968, p. 117
Until the later C18 the circular temple had been called the |Temple of the Sybil because of the site's ancient connection with the Tiburtine Sybil. It was then demonstrated by Giuseppe Vasi and others to have been a vestal temple and the small adjacent church containing some ancient elements was assumed to have been the Temple of Sybil.
Dimensions framed: 118.1 x 148.9 x 8.9 cm (46 1/2 x 58 5/8 x 3 1/2 in.)
09/10/2019