Richard Wilson

Rome from the Villa Madama

c. 1765
Wilson deftly frames the view: the city is laid out before us, its most prominent landmark, the dome of St. Peter’s, deliberately hidden behind the hill that shelters the Villa Madama. While topographically accurate, Wilson’s real interest lies in atmosphere – the light and colour of a late afternoon. His contemporaries prized this combination of truth to nature and artfulness, which won Wilson temporary fame. His career ended in failure, and the next generation of British artists saw in his life the story of a genius betrayed by his patrons’ ignorance, but who nonetheless had revitalized landscape painting. Frame: carved wood, gilded. Britain, mid-18th century
Title
Rome from the Villa Madama
Date
c. 1765
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
100.3 x 135.3 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 1948
Accession number
4879

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