The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)

The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)
The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)
The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)
Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery
title=Credit line
Style of Wilson
The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 34.4 x 43.3 cm
Imperial: 13 9/16 x 17 1/16 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
At the right a renaissance building surmounts a classical structure which has been built on a rock or artificial rampart. In the centre foreground a man sits resting by a rock and a woman with a baby in arms stands next to him. The ground falls away to a river and bridge at the left.
Bath, Victoria Art Gallery, Masterpieces from West Country Art Galleries, 20 May-1 July 1989; Gloucester 2014 (unnumbered)
With Spink; Stanley Marling, Amberley, Gloucester; bequeathed to Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery 1963
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
The figures are not up to Wilson's standard. The colours in the tower look later. The background, notably the bridge lower left, is blobby and indistinct.
A number of locations have been proposed over the years, all of which Constable dismissed, apart from Sta Maria Aventina, which he believe fitted the composition in some respects but not all, notably the inclusion of the bridge at the left, which occupies the position of the Pons Sublicius, destroyed in 780 AD.
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Related Works by Other Artists
[1] J.M.W. Turner, Wilson Sketchbook, 1796-97, p. pp. 98-99, Tate, London
Critical commentary
As noted by W.G. Constable, this version differs from the P94 Upton House, National Trust painting in minor details, in having a tower beyond the bridge at the extreme left and in omitting the stick resting against the rock in the right foreground.
WGC, p. 198 pl. 76a (version 1)
Dimensions with frame: 49.7 x 58.5 cm. Deliberately damaged by criss-cross gouging 1979. Kate Lowry has noted: Painting has a glossy varnish. The figures and distant landscape are unconvincing. The whole rather coarsely painted. Under UV a large X-shaped damage caused by vandalism is visible.