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Lake Avernus - I
Galerie Hans Hamburg
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Avernus - I
Oil on canvas
40.6 x 53 cm
16 x 20 7/8 in.
A view across the lake towards a ruined temple with hills beyond. There is a tree in the foreground on the left. 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.
Andover, Mass., Adelson Gallery of American Art, 10 January - 15 February 1934 (43 - Italian Lake); New Haven, Conn., Gallery of Fine Arts, Eighteenth Century English and Italian Landscape Painting, 1940 (43, repr.); Northampton, Mass., Smith College Museum, 1947 and 1950, lent by Mrs Turner Sargent ; Phoenix Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, English Landscape Painting, 1 December 1961 - 31 January 1962 (unnumbered)
C.M. Spink, London by 1936; Mrs Turner Sargent; given by her to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by 1953; Sotheby's New York, 14 January 1994 (2)
[1] Top left, red paint: PG / 215
[2] Top left below [1] faint red chalk: 20
ITALIAN LAKE / [1] Upper left corner of stretcher printed: Smith College / Museum of Art / LOAN / 240:46
[2] Upper left corner of stretcher below [1] in red ink: Y.G.F.A. / Trt. 1225
[3] Upper left end of horizontal stretcher bar, black ink: WILSON, R. / ITALIAN LAKE. / Bequest of Mrs. Turner-Sargent / 94.171 / 24.4 [?]
[4] Centre of upper stretcher bar, types: GROUP C 94.171
[5] Bottom of vertical central stretcher bar printed round red label: GALERIE MATHIAS F. HANS. HAMBURG
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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Museum of Fine Arts, Catalogue of Paintings, 1921, p. 159 no. 460; WGC, pp. 194, 279, pl. 69a (version 3); Alexandra R. Murphy, European Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue, 1985, p. 301, repr.