Lot N: 0338
GASPARE VANVITELLI (1653 - 1736)
100 x 48 cm
The painting is accompanied by a card by Laura Laureati, August 23th 2017.
This is a certain painting of Gaspare Vanvitelli but abnormal compared to his most famous production, that of the city landscape, as Rome, Naple or Venice. The slight ripples of the water in the foreground, on the right of the landscape, as well as the reflections of the mainland on the transparent surface of the lake, the sharpness of the image of the entire monastic complex, in the left area, are some of the typical characters of the way of painting of Vanvitelli. The landscape is ideal and depicted, I think, a place of invention, that is reunite two place geographically far: on the left you see a monastic complex with a church from the Reinassance portal and the Romanesque bell tower, both in the Italian center, in the landscape background stand out those elevated mountain reliefs inspired by models of the northern Italy. On the right at the end, you can see a town that remembers the shape of localities of Lombardy, Lake Maggiore, places such as Pallanza, near the Borromeo Islands, that Gaspare Vanvitelli had visited, designed and that he knew well. At the center a large basin, maybe a river or a lake. The first floor of the view on the left, shows a rocky landscape of green-brown colour that appears sketchy, as if it had been left unfinished by the author.
The eye of the Vanvitelli connoisseur, in this case, finds confirmation and is also supported in his assessment by the presence, very important, of a preparatory design for a part of this conceived view. In the rich graphic production of Gaspare Vanvitelli, in fact, in Rome, in the Cabinet of drawings and prints, a drawing of his, just sketched, which is preparatory precisely for the left side of this landscape concived. It represents a mountain landscape with a monastery on the shore of a river or lake. In 1915 G.J. Hoogewerff when he published the drawing, without illustrating it, defined it as: Landscape with monastery on the high bank of a wide river. In the background mountains ( G.J. Hoogewerff, Drawings of Flemish and Dutch masters in the National press office in Rome, in "Bollettino d'Arte" 1915 p. 330 n. 18). It was Giuliano Briganti who, in 1966, illustrated and described so: ideal landscape inspired by the sabino landscape on the banks of the Tevere (G. Briganti, Gaspar Van Wittel e l'origine della veduta settecentesca, Roma 1966 p. 333 n. 236d e G. Briganti, Gaspar Van Wittel, nuova edizione a cura di L. Laureati e L. Trezzani, Milano 1996 pp. 420-421 n. D378). And in the painting that extended portion of water can be interpreted both as a river of central Italy, the Tevere for example, and, more probably, as a lake. Gaspare Vanvitelli, specialist and creator of the view of the city, of the portrait of the city as a pictorial genre, in his concevied views, performed mostly from the early eighteenth century, gave life of a genre, the view of fantasy, loosely inspired by the ways Claude Lorrain, portraying with precision and realistic intent, almost to allude that the painted image is taken from the real, villas, churches, castles, convents and often ancient temples. Some of his ideas, then, are probably inspired by places really existing but now profoundly changed and therefore not identifiable with accuracy.
Recent researches by Angela Mascherpa, whom we thank for her collaboration, add some important references for the identification of the landscape. The painting could, in fact, be a free interpretation, with real and imaginative elements, of Lake Maggiore with on the left the Rocca di Angera, a spur of rock overlooking the southern shore of the lake. In a strategic position for traffic control, it was property of the Visconti house, originally from the Verbano, and in 1449 it was purchased by the Borromeso, to which it still belongs.