Selected Inventory

Caspar Van Wittel, called Vanvitelli

(Amersfoort 1653 – 1736 Rome)

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Caspar Van Wittel, called Vanvitelli

The Piazza del Popolo, Rome, looking south towards the churches of Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli

oil on canvas, 57.5 by 109.5 cm, signed and dated on the church wall, lower left: CAS: VAN/ WITEL/ 171[?1] ROMA

Gaspar van Wittel, better known by his Italianized name Vanvitelli, painted this magnificent view of Rome’s celebrated Piazza del Popolo – his most frequently painted Roman view – in 1711, the year he was elected to the Accademia di San Luca. Vanvitelli’s vedute held great appeal not only for collectors in Rome but also for “Grand Tourists” wishing to take back mementoes of their travels and Piazza del Popolo would have been an obvious favourite since it was the entry point into the city via Porta del Popolo, for visitors arriving in Rome from the north.

The exceptional version presented here – dated and signed at the bottom left as if it were written on the wall of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo – creates a vivid impression the early eighteenth-century physiognomy of the square before the renovations carried out towards the end of the same century by Giuseppe Valadier. The picture’s central focus is one of Rome’s oldest obelisks, the red granite monolith originally brought to Rome by the Emperor Augustus after the conquest of Egypt in 30 BC and erected in the Circus Maximus and the whole scene is animated with figures going about their daily business.



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