- Gallery Text
Born in the Dutch Republic but active in Rome, Vanvitelli gained fame for his vedute, or detailed views of cityscapes or vistas. These evocative views were popular purchases for eighteenth-century travelers on the Grand Tour. Here, Vanvitelli paints the ruins of the Colosseum washed in a soft afternoon “Roman” light. He carefully renders the arena, implicitly placing the viewer in the scene by lowering the viewpoint; the perspective also helps give a sense of the building’s colossal scale. Vanvitelli increases the effect by widening the panorama, which allows him to include nearby monuments like the Arch of Constantine, the top of which can be seen in the distance to the left of the Colosseum, and the Esquiline Hill on the right.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Gaspar van Wittel (called Vanvitelli), Dutch (Amersfort, Netherlands 1652 - 1736 Rome, Italy)
- The Colosseum Seen from the Southeast
- Work Type
- c. 1700
- Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Lazio, Rome
Level 2, Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Arts in the Eighteenth–Century Atlantic World
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- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on canvas
- 72 x 125 cm (28 3/8 x 49 3/16 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- inscription: lower left corner, white oil paint: A
- stamp: verso: grouping of two Italian import/export stamps, one diamond-shaped [pairing found once on the stretcher and once on the verso of the canvas combined with a date stamp, faded and illegible, both with “Roma”]
- Collection of the Ninth Duke of Medinaceli, Spain (no. 109 in the 1711 inventory). Collection of the Duchess of Almazán, Madrid, Spain. [François Heim, Paris (by 1962), sold]; to Paul E. and Gabriele B. Geier, Rome, Italy (?1962-2012), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2012.
For object no. 109 in the Duke of Medinaceli’s inventory see: Vicente Lleó Cañal, “The Art Collection of the Ninth Duke of Medinaceli,” The Burlington Magazine, vol. 131, no. 1031 (Feb., 1989), p. 115, under no. 184.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Paul E. and Gabriele B. Geier
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- Canvas is without a frame.
- Publication History
Giuliano Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel e l'origine della veduta settecentesca (Rome, Italy, 1966), cat. 35 p. 179
Mary Ann Scott, Dutch, Flemish, and German Paintings in the Cincinnati Art Museum: Fifteenth through Eighteenth Centuries, Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, OH, 1987), under cat. 55 p. 149, p. 149 (n.11)
Giuliano Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel, Electa (Milan, Italy, 1996), cat. 63 p. 155, under cat. 366 p. 267, repr. pp. 82 (detail), 156
Chiostro del Bramante and Museo Correr, Gaspare Vanvitelli e le origini del vedutismo, exh. cat., Viviani Editore (Rome, Italy, 2002), under cat. 15 p. 103
- Exhibition History
32Q: 2240 18th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 09/05/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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