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Creator:
John Warwick Smith, 1749–1831, British
Title:
The Villa Medici, Rome
Date:
1784
Medium:
Watercolor over graphite on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 13 5/8 x 20 1/4 inches (34.6 x 51.4 cm) and Contemporary drawn border: 16 1/4 x 22 3/4 inches (41.3 x 57.8 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Inscribed in black ink, lower left: "JS[in monogram] 1784"; in black ink, verso, lower center: "Villa Medici at Rome, from the Strada Babourni"

watermark: Fleur-de-Lis type

Signed and dated in black ink, lower left: "JS[in monogram] 1784"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.4699
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | cityscape | clouds | Grand Tour | landscape | trees | villa | windows
Associated Places:
Italy | Rome
Access:
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
Curatorial Comment:
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This watercolor, painted by Smith when he was back in London, shows the Villa Medici from the Via del Babuino, the street in which Smith was living in 1780. The villa was built for Cardinal Ricci da Montepulciano between 1564 and 1574 and was bought by Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici in 1576. Still owned by the Medici at the time of Smith’s Roman visit, it was purchased by Napoleon in 1803 and became the home of the Académie Française. An undated watercolor version, acquired from the artist by the Earl of Warwick in 1781, is in the British Museum. In all but a few minor details, the Yale version replicates the earlier watercolor exactly. Another version of the composition in oils on paper by Thomas Jones is in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art. Its misunderstanding of the villa’s architecture suggests that it was copied from Smith, probably from the watercolor now in the British Museum, several details of which (not present in the Yale version) it reproduces.
--Scott Wilcox,2007-01
Exhibition History:
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English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17)

British Watercolors - A Golden Age 1750-1850 (The Speed Art Museum, 1977-10-17 - 1977-11-26)

Oil on Water - Oil Sketches by British Watercolorists (Yale Center for British Art, 1986-08-26 - 1986-11-09)

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27)

Publications:
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John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 269, no. 57, pl. 57, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:8246
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