Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo

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Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo
Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo
Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo
Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo
Later 1750s (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 75.5 x 100 cm
Imperial: 29 3/4 x 39 3/8 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
Lake Albano appears in the middle distance with the banks rising steeply from it. In the foreground to right and left are groups of trees, between which sit a Madonna-like woman with a child, and a man drawing or reading. Under the foliage of the inner right-hand tree a church is visible. Disappearing over the edge of a hill, a man on a white pony leads a donkey by its halter. Across the lake a path slants down the face of the cliff, which is surmounted by the town of Castelgandolfo.
RA 1774 (74)?; London 1925 (17); Manchester 1925 (17); Brussels 1929 (197); Hull 1936 (51); Birmingham 1948-49 (59); London 1949 (58); Arts Council 1949, Art in the Georgian Home (7); Paris 1953 (92); Rotterdam 1955 (67); Montreal 1957 (74); Rome, British Council 1959, Painting in Rome in the 18th Century (unnumbered); Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery & Dublin, Building Centre 1961, W.B. Yeats Images of a Poet (278); Tokyo & Kyoto, British Council 1970-71, English Landscape Painting of the 18th and 19th Centuries (54)
James Orrock (1829-1913), 48, Bedford Square, London by 1908; bt 1910 by William Hesketh Lever (1st Baron Leverhulme from 1917); transferred from his private collection to the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 1922
Signed 'RW.' on stone lower centre [monogram, the R reversed]
Traces of inscription on the stone lower left: 'Qui Potentiora Egit, Qui Maiora Fecit' [now illegible]
Lake Albano, 18 miles south-east of Rome, was celebrated in Wilson's day for its appearance in Virgil's Aeneid. Castelgandolfo was and remains the summer residence of the popes. It was built for Urban VIII (1623-44) to the designs of Carlo Maderna. The site of the ancient town, Alba Longa, is nearby and Pompey and Domitian, among other celebrated ancient Romans, built villas on the shore of the lake.
Related Drawings
D163 Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, Victoria & Albert Museum
D312 Castel Gandolfo; A View of the Town from across the north end of Lake Albano, with a Shepherd in the Foreground, Private Collection
See 'Links' tab
Related Works by Other Artists
[1] Claude Lorrain, Pastoral Landscape with Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, oil on copper, 1639, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (PD.950-1963)
[2] Jonathan Skelton, Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, watercolour, 1758, Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester
[3] Jacob More (1740-1793), Lake Albano with Castelgandolfo, The Fleming Collection, London
[4] Joseph Wright of Derby, Albano, 1790, National Museum Wales, Cardiff (NMW A 109)
[5] J.-B.-C. Corot, Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, oil on paper, 1826-28, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Critical commentary
Lake and town are seen from the north-east, replicating the viewpoint in Pastoral Landscape with Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo by Claude Lorrain, which David Solkin has noted was then in the Barberini collection in Rome. The inscription on the stone is no longer decipherable but was recorded in 1952 and may be translated as, 'who did mightier deeds who made greater works'. As observed by Alex Kidson, Wilson presumably intended it to provide a counterpoint to the bucolic character of the scene in his own day, as conveyed through the peasant figures, and perhaps as a comment on the moral authority of the Roman Empire, as compared with that of the eighteenth-century papacy. His first treatment of the subject seems to have been a drawing on the far shore (D163), which in 1754 he worked up into a presentation drawing for Lord Dartmouth (D312), whose design his painted versions follow.
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
Bury 1947, pl. 28; Ford 1951, p. 61 under no. 66, WGC, p. 191, pl. 64b; Egerton 1990, pp. 185-86; A. Kidson, Earlier British Paintings in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums & Galleries, Merseyside, 1999, pp. 175-76
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
Repaired,cleaned and restored in 1959 after being damaged while on loan. Kidson reports that up until this time the painting was disfigured by crude overpainting concealing damages in the sky and extensive cracking in the lower part.
Kate Lowry has noted: Gilt compo frame, low reflective glass. Viewed in frame on display. Oil on canvas, relined. Dark foliage masses and clouds are Dutch in style. Severe drying cracks in lake and some mature cracks in centre sky, possibly due to reworking by the artist. Brown reserve for foliage visible upper left.
Updated by Compiler
2019-01-16 00:00:00