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Lake Avernus - I (Classical Landscape, Lake Avernus)
Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool / The Bridgeman Art Library
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Avernus - I (Classical Landscape, Lake Avernus)
Oil on canvas
40.7 x 50.8 cm
A view across the lake towards a ruined temple with hills beyond. In the foreground on the left, stands a tree. In the centre, there 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.
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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