Lake Avernus - I

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Lake Avernus - I
Lake Avernus - I
Lake Avernus - I
York Art Gallery / York Museums Trust, presented by F.D. Lycett Green through The Art Fund, 1955
title=Credit line
Ascribed to Wilson
Lake Avernus - I
Oil on canvas
Metric: 43.2 x 54 cm
Imperial: 17 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
A view across the lake towards a large ruined building with hills and mountains beyond. In the foreground, on the left, stand some trees. In the centre, there are three figures, two men, one seated on a log and one woman, or perhaps a monk, gesticulating. To the right are an open ancient sarcophagus, woodland and a hill topped by ancient buildings. Behind the group of figures a man bends down to his boat on the lake and further out another boat is visible.
City of York Art Gallery 1955 Inaugural Exhibition, The Lycett Green Collection (123)
Presented by F.D. Lycett Green through the National Art Collections Fund, 1955
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 Book Six of Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneas sacrifices to the gods in the shadow of the forest surrounding Lake Avernus and then follows the Cumaean Sibyl into her cave and down into the Underworld. However, the exact location is not certain but has been identified as including the 'Temple of Apollo' and the scene is based on views in the Phlegraean Fields, rearranged with Wilsonian licence. The elements are Lake Avernus, Lake Lucrino (middle distance), the Bay of Baia (distance). The mountain is Monte Gauro.
Related Prints
E16 James Roberts after Wilson, A View in Italy, The British Museum
E16A James Roberts after Wilson, Lake Avernus (A View in Italy), National Museum Wales, Cardiff
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Critical commentary
The gesturing woman might be intended as a sybil, though she is probably buying fish from the men. The ruined building has traditionally been identified as the 'Temple of Apollo'.
York Art Gallery Catalogue 1963, inv. no. 834 pl. 19 as ascribed
More Information
This painting was part of a collection of 117 works belonging to the industrialist and engineer F.D. Lycett Green and bequeathed to York through the National Art-Collections Fund, in 1955, in recognition of the remarkable efforts made after the Second World War by its curator to transform it into a gallery of international importance.
Relined. There is a line about 1.3 cm. in from each vertical edge where the canvas appears to have been once folded
Updated by Compiler
2021-11-08 00:00:00