(n/a) Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli (Utrecht circa 1653-1736 Rome) The Piazza del Popolo, Rome
Lot 100
Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli (Utrecht circa 1653-1736 Rome) The Piazza del Popolo, Rome
Sold for £826,400 (US$ 1,389,029) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
(n/a) Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli (Utrecht circa 1653-1736 Rome)
The Piazza del Popolo, Rome
signed with initials and dated 'G.V.W. 1715' (on stone blocks, lower right)
oil on canvas
57 x 110cm (22 7/16 x 43 5/16in).


    John Lewis Rutley Collection
    His sale, Christie's, London, 8 June, 1923, lot 153 (as one of a pair, together with the Piazza Navona)
    Acquired by the present owners' family, circa 1923, and thence by descent

    Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel, Milan, 1996, pp.134-135, cat. no. 10, illus. pl.10

    The collection of John Lewis Rutley, which was sold in 1923, comprised a number of views of Rome, including works by Canaletto and Hendrik van Lint, along with landscapes by Andrea Locatelli and Jan Frans van Bloemen. As well as the pendant to the present painting, a view of the Piazza Navona with figures by Pietro Fabris, other works in the collection by Vanvitelli were: a view of the Entrance to the Grand Canal in Venice with its pendant of the Bay of Naples; and a view of the Colosseum with its pendant of San Giorgio Maggiore.

    Vedutismo, the art of painting views of cities and towns, was a particularly eighteenth century Italian phenomenon. Although its origins can be found in the printed and drawn topographical images of the earlier seventeenth century and in the paintings of Joseph Heintz the Younger (circa 1600-1678), Vanvitelli is often considered the first specialist view painter. After completion of his training in Amersfoort, he travelled to Rome and by 1675 he had found employment as a draughtsman in the service of Cornelis Mayer. It was through this work that he completed various topographical drawings of the city and later went on to produce his first views in oil in the early 1680s. He is particular amongst Italian view painters in that he did not rely exclusively on foreign patronage and many of his works therefore remain in Italy.

    ‘There is a grandeur, a dignity, and a taste in it, far beyond all the cities I ever beheld’ wrote Edward Thomas upon his arrival in Rome in 1750. This city proved the ultimate goal of many tourists, particularly of the British, and was the furthest point in most tours. The view of the Piazza del Popolo would have had particular resonance for foreigners as it often afforded the grand tourist his first glimpse of Rome as the vast majority of travellers would arrive by road from the North.

Saleroom notices

  • The present lot has temporary import into Italy until June 2013.
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