Rome from the Villa Madama

Rome from the Villa Madama

1753
Richard Wilson RA
1714–1782
Oil on canvas
37 9/16 x 52 1/4 inches (95.4 x 132.7 cm) Frame: 45 5/8" x 59 1/2" x 3" (115.9 cm x 151.1cm)

The city of Rome is seen toward the southeast from the slopes of Monte Mario with the loggia of the Villa Madama, designed about 1518 by Raphael for Pope Clement VII, on the right. In the center, the river Tiber leads the eye toward the Eternal City and, beyond it in the far distance, the Alban Hills. This prospect was among the most famous of all Roman vistas—the point from which, through the ages, pilgrims from the north had caught their first sight of Rome, here set in the fading light of late afternoon. Wilson has combined antiquity, history, and topography in this emblematic image, with its prominent classical sculpture and compositional acknowledgments to his revered predecessors Claude Lorrain and Jan Frans van Bloemen (l’Orizzonte). This is one of two painted views of Rome commissioned by the Earl of Dartmouth.

B1977.14.82
Signed and dated, lower center: "[?] W | 1753"
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection