A View of the Bay of Naples, Looking Southwest from the Pizzofalcone towards Capo di Posilippo

Object Details

Title:

A View of the Bay of Naples, Looking Southwest from the Pizzofalcone towards Capo di Posilippo

Artist/Maker:

Giovanni Battista Lusieri (Italian, about 1755 - 1821)

Culture:

Italian

Place:

Naples, Italy (Place created)

Date:

1791

Medium:

Watercolor, gouache, graphite, and pen and ink on six sheets of paper

Dimensions:

101.8 x 271.9 cm (40 1/16 x 107 1/16 in.)

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Sir William Hamilton, British envoy to the court of Naples from 1764 to 1800, wanted a painting of the panoramic view of the Bay of Naples from his apartment window. He sought out the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Lusieri, whose detailed drawings and watercolors of views of Naples and other Italian sites were popular with Grand Tourists in the 1780s and 1790s.

Lusieri produced this sweeping view on six sheets of watercolor paper. Its clarity, purity of color, and accuracy of detail led many people to believe that Lusieri used a telescope or camera obscura to record the intricacies, proportion, and perspective of his settings. He was a slow and painstaking draftsman; this drawing is one of his few important, completely finished works. He proceeded slowly, first drawing the entire scene in outline down to the smallest detail with a faint but hard pencil and then finishing and coloring the work on location, rather than in a studio. An English tourist wrote of Lusieri: "As an artist he was always slow in deliberation; but it was the tardiness of the most scrupulous accuracy; for he frequently laid on even his colours on the spot..."

Provenance
1791 - 1801

Sir William Hamilton, 1730 - 1803 [Hamilton sale, Christies, London, March 28, lot 24, probably to Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville.], commissioned from the artist, shipped to England.

by 1817

Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, First Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1776 - 1839, probably acquired at the Hamilton sale.

1848

Richard Grenville, second duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1797 - 1861 [Stowe sale, Christie and Manson (on premises), lot 160, September 13, to Richard Grenville, 1848.]

-

Richard Grenville, third duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1823 - 1889, by inheritance to his daughter, Mary Temple-Gore-Langdon, 1889.

1889 -

Mary Temple-Gore-Langdon, 1852 - 1944 [Stowe sale, Jackson Stops, lot 1562, probably to H. Shaw, 1921]

1921 - 1922

H. Shaw [Stowe slae, Jackson Stops, lot 204, October 13, to Allied Schools (as part of the fixtures of Stowe), 1922.]

1922 - 1984

Stowe School (near Buckingham)

1985

Artemis Fine Arts Ltd. (London, England)

Exhibitions
All'Ombra del Vesuvio: Napoli Nella Veduta Europa / In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Naples in the European View (May 11 to July 29, 1990) (407)
  • Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, May 11 to July 29, 1990
Goethe and the Visual Arts (May 20 to August 7, 1994) (286; OVERSIZE)
  • Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), May 20 to August 7, 1994
Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton, Collector and Connoisseur (March 12, 1995 to July 14, 1996)
  • The British Museum (London), March 12, 1995 to July 14, 1996
Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen (November 13, 2001 to February 3, 2002) (255)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles)
Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape (June 30 to October 28, 2012) (20)
  • National Gallery of Scotland (Edinburgh), June 30 to October 28, 2012
Bibliography

Seely, J. Stowe, A Description of the House and Gardens. (Buckingham: 1817) p. 58.

Seely, J. Stowe, A Description of the House and Gardens. (Buckingham: 1827) p. 70, nos. 303, 304.

Chandler, R., and J. Seely. Stowe, A Description of the House and Gardens. (Buckingham: 1832) p. 74, nos. 303, 304.

Calkin and Budd. Stowe, A Description of the House and Gardens. (London: 1838) p. 57, nos. 182, 184.

Harrison, J. (appraiser). Inventory of the Household Furniture, Etc. at Stowe House taken by order of His Grace the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Jan. & Feb. 1839. (Huntington Library, Stowe Mss. ST 274: 1839) f. 17.

Foster, Henry Ramsey. The Stowe Catalogue priced and annotated. (London: 1848) p. 165, no. 106.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986) p. 214, no. 115.

Spinosa, Nicola. Pittura napoletana del Settecento dal Rococò al Classicismo. (Naples: 1987) vol. 2, p. 166, no. 342, fig. 447.

Williams, Charles I.M. "Lusieri's Masterpiece?" Burlington Magazine 129 (July 1987) pp. 457-459.

Hawcroft, Francis W. Travels in Italy 1776-1783 Based on the Memoirs of Thomas Jones, exh. cat. (Manchester: 1988) p. 86, under no. 93.

Spinosa, Nicola, and Leonardo Di Mauro. Vedute napoletane del Settecento (Naples: Electa, 1989) pp. 28, 128-29 (tav. 110), 203, no. 184 (details in color on dust jacket and slip case).

Bean, Jacob, and William Griswold. 18th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (New York: 1990) p. 142, under no. 129.

Knight, Carlo. "I Lusieri di Hamilton." Napoli Nobilissima, Rivista di Arti Figurative, Architettura, Archeologia e Urbanistica XXXI, Fasc. III-IV (May-August 1992) pp. 81-86.

Knight, Carlo. "Hamilton's Lusieris." Burlington Magazine, 135. (August 1993) pp. 536-538.

Gage, John. "Lusieri, Hamilton and the Palazzo Sessa." Burlington Magazine, vol. 135. (November 1993) pp. 765-766.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 77, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 39, no. 20, ill., entry by Dawson Carr.

Miller, Norbert. Der Wanderer. Goethe in Italien (Munich and Vienna: Carl Hanser, 2002) pp. 210, 304-5, 712, ill.

Flick, Gert-Rudolf. Missing Masterpieces: Lost Works of Art, 1450-1900 (London: The British Art Journal, with Merrell, 2003) pp. 173-77.

Spirito, Fabrizia. Lusieri. (Naples: Electa, 2003) no. 30, p. 127, p. 165, color ill., pp. 70-71.

D'Hancarville, Pierre-Francois Hugues. The Complete Collection of Antiquities from the Cabinet of Sir William Hamilton (Cologne, 2004) pp. 16-17, ill.

Millon, Henry A., ed. Circa 1700: Architecture in Europe and the Americas (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005) pp. 16-17, 33.

Weston-Lewis, Aidan, et al. Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2012) pp. 97-100, no. 20, ill.; p. 104, under no. 21, entries by Aidan Weston-Lewis; cover ill. (detail).

Sloan, Kim. "'Naples, where the landscape painter is most truly in his element.'" In Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2012) pp. 75, 81.

Weston-Lewis, Aidan. "'The most exact and eloquent transcriptions of nature I ever saw'[...]." In Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2012) p. 17.

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

The Poetry of Architecture

Lesson in which students explore architectural structures/nature in paintings; describe a painting's mood, draw, write poetry, make a camera obscura.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; History–Social Science

9-12

Three/Five-Part Lesson