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Creator Richard Wilson RA, 1714–1782, British, active in Italy (1750–56)
Title Rome from the Villa Madama
Alternate Title(s) A View of Rome from the Villa Madama
View of Rome from Villa Madama 1753
A View of Rome from the Gardens of the Villa Madama
Date 1753
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 37 9/16 x 52 1/4 inches (95.4 x 132.7 cm) Frame: 45 5/8" x 59 1/2" x 3" (115.9 cm x 151.1cm)
Signed and dated, lower center: "[?] W | 1753"
Credit Line Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Accession Number B1977.14.82
Collection Paintings and Sculpture
Curatorial Comment Rome from the Villa Madama is one of two oil paintings of Rome commissioned by William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, who made the Grand Tour in 1752–53, during Wilson's sojourn there. The other is “Rome from the Janiculum” (Tate Britain, London). In the Center’s painting, the city is seen from the slopes of Monte Mario, to the northwest of Rome, traditionally the first view of the city seen by pilgrims arriving from the north. The fragments of classical sculpture in the foreground are contrasted to modern Rome in the distance, evoking a meditation on the transience of ancient grandeur but also on Rome as the Eternal City. To the right, in shadow, is the loggia of the Villa Madama, built by Pope Clement VII (reigned 1723-1534) from designs by Raphael. Wilson's painting closely echoes a painting of the same view made in 1736 by Jan Frans van Bloemen (1662-1749), known as l’Orizzonte, whose importance as a model for Wilson's landscape painting in his early years in Rome has been pointed out by David Solkin (David H. Solkin, Richard Wilson: The Landscape of Reaction, Tate Gallery, 1982, pp. 184–85). Yet the more profound influence of Claude Lorrain is already much in evidence in the eloquent massing of forms and the subtle movement from areas of rich shadow into a luminous distance. While Wilson’s later landscapes would show a more sensitive grasp of naturalistic detail and a more ambitious range of motifs and emotive effects, the Roman views he painted for Lord Dartmouth and others during his stay in the city are unmatched in their cool light and sense of timeless tranquility. Wilson produced several replicas of this composition for other patrons on returning to England including a version in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (no. 4879).
     -- Angus Trumble, 2014-05
Link to This Record
Subject Terms cityscape | Grand Tour | landscape | mountains | people | river | sculpture | villa
Place Represented Italy | Lazio | Mario, Monte | Roma | Tiber | Villa Madama

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, p. 74-75, no. 24, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)

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. 250, no. 19, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels], Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 22, N590.2 A82 (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 252-53, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Duncan Bull, Classic ground, British artists and the landscape of Italy, 1740-1830, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1981, pp. 1, 3-4, cat. 53, pl. III, ND1354.4 B85 (YCBA)

Julius Bryant, Kenwood, paintings in the Iveagh Bequest, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2003, p. 176, fig. 2, ND454 B79 2003 + (YCBA)

David H. Solkin, Richard Wilson, the landscape of reaction, Tate Publishing, London, 1982, pp. 14-15, 47, 74, 138 fn 49, 184-85, no. 67, no. 67, NJ18 W72 S65 + (YCBA)

W. G. Constable, Richard Wilson, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1953, pp. 33,71,80, 119, 160, 218-19., note . 107a, pl. 107a, NJ18 W72 C55 (YCBA)

Henry A. Minton, The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo, the representation of architecture, Thames and Hudson, London, 1994, no. 219, NA1115 R397X 1994 OVERSIZE (HAAS)

Malcolm Cormack, A Selective Promenade, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, pp. 288-9, pl. VII, N1 A54 + (YCBA) , Another copy of this article may be found in a separately bound and catalogued copy of this issue located on the Mellon Shelf [call number : N5220 M552 A7 1977 + (YCBA)]

Visits to Private Galleries of the British School - The Collection of Hugh Munro, Esq., Hamilton Place, Piccadilly, Art Journal, vol. 3:29, May 1857, p. 134, S2166 (SML Film) , Available online in British Periodicals database.

Edmund Ollier, The English Claude, Magazine of Art, vol. 5, January 1882, p. 355, N1 M34 + (YCBA) , Available online in British Periodicals Database.

Brinsley Ford, The Dartmouth Collection of Drawings by Richard Wilson, Burlington Magazine, vol. 90,no.549, December, 1948, pp. 337-45, N1 B87 + (YCBA)

Brinsley Ford, Richard Wilson in Rome, II, Burlington Magazine, vol. 94, no. 596, November, 1952, pp. 311-2, fig. 4, N1 B87 + (YCBA) , Also Available Online (JSTOR)

John Gage, Zwei Jahrhunderte englische Malerei, britische Kunst und Europa 1680 bis 1880 : [Ausstellung] Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, 21. November 1979 bis 27. Januar 1980: [Katalog], Ausstellungsleitung Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, Mèunchen, 1979, p. 191, no. 91, pl. 33 & fig. 91, ND466 Z85 (YCBA)

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, pp. 288-9, pl. VII, N5220 M552 A7 1977 OVERSIZE (YCBA) , Published as April 1977 issue of Apollo; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 105:2 +]

Art Treasures Exhibition (Manchester, England), Catalogue of the art treasures of the United kingdom., Bradbury and Evans, London, 1857, p. 78, no. 29, N5056 M35 M25 1857 (YCBA)

Catalogue of an exhibition of pictures by Richard Wilson and his circle : organized by the City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, January, 1949, The Tate Gallery, London, , Tate Britain, London, 1949, p. 16, no. 16, NJ18 W72 T37 (YCBA)

Catalogue of pictures by Richard Wilson and his circle, November 17-January 9 1948-9, City Museum & Art Gallery Birmingham, Birmingham, 1948, p. 14, no. 17, V 2449 (YCBA)

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 76, ND466 G67 (YCBA)

A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy, 1701-1800, compiled from the Brinsley Ford archive, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997, p. 1008, , DG424 D53 1997 (YCBA)

Richard Wilson and the transformation of European landscape painting, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014, pp.8, 79, 193, 194-95, 196, 248, 249, Cat. No. 60, fig. 8, NJ18.W72 R53 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Luke Herrmann, [ Exhibition Reviews ] Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting, YCBA, New Haven, 6 March - 1 June National Museum Wales Amueddfa Cymru, Cardiff 5 Juky - 26 October, British Art Journal, Vol. 15, Autumn 2014, p. 120, N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

David Stacey, [ Exhibition Reviews ] And another view of the Richard Wilson exhibition ..., British Art Journal, vol. 15, Autumn 2014, p. 122, N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

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