Lago d'Agnano with the Grotta del Cane - II (Lago d'Agnano…

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Lago d'Agnano with the Grotta del Cane - II (Lago d'Agnano…
Lago d'Agnano with the Grotta del Cane - II (Lago d'Agnano…
Lago d'Agnano with the Grotta del Cane - II (Lago d'Agnano…
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lago d'Agnano with the Grotta del Cane - II (Lago d'Agnano, near Naples II)
c. 1770-75 (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 43.6 x 52.8 cm
Imperial: 17 3/16 x 20 3/16 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
The view is across the southern end of the lake from the east, with the Grotta del Cane at the left, and a dog suitably included before it. Monte Spina is in the background. Nearby are the old Stufe di San Germano - chambers in which hot sulphurous fumes rising from the ground were collected for the benefit of the sick.
Richmond 1963 (16); New Haven 1981 (26); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (140)
Agnews; acquired in the 1880s by the Hon. Robert Bruce and thereafter by family descent through Lady Elizabeth Babington-Smith to H.G. Babington-Smith, Eton College; 11 October 1961 Agnews (#3955); acquired by Paul Mellon, 11 October 1962
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
Very light, almost pastel, apart from the dark area in the foreground and to the left.
Lago d'Agnano was a volcanic lake, situated a few miles west of Naples. The grotta was a popular tourist attraction, where dogs were rendered unconscious to demonstrate the noxiousness of the carbon dioxide fumes and then revived, often by being thrown into the lake. The lake was drained in 1870.
Related Drawings
D160 Grotto del Cane, Lago d' Agnano, near Naples, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
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Related Paintings
Pendant: P47A Lago d'Agnano wuith Vesuvius in the Distance, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
Critical commentary
This painting and its companion (P47A) are characteristic of the Italian landscapes that Wilson painted in England towards the end of his career. They are among the purer works of this period, all detail being sacrificed to the evocation of light and air, but without the clarity of light and precision of his earlier works. His tendency at this stage was to model forms by juxtaposing visible brush-strokes of different hues.
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
Object ID: 1143
WGC, p. 191, pl. 63b; Taylor 1963, cat. 16, pl. 211; Solkin 1982, p. 245; Cormack 1985, pp. 254 & 255
Foamboard backboard. Kate Lowry has noted: Original canvas is a simple loose-weave linen, with many slubs and with 13 warp threads x 12 wefts per sq cm. All original turnover edges retained at the time of lining. Attached to stretcher through original and lining turnovers with hand-made tacks. Paste lining is probably 19th century and stretcher dates from this treatment. Four member stretcher with provision for keying out. All keys present and not taped in position. Commercially-prepared white, oil ground covers all upper surface of canvas including turnovers. Under UV light many small retouches can be seen scattered over the surface but more heavily retouched in the middle ground where original paint is thin. The X-ray image shows the left hand slope of the central hill was originally higher and the pentiment is slightly visible in normal light. XRF analysis shows mostly earth and copper colours, plus lead white.
Updated by Compiler
2022-06-14 00:00:00