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View of the Castel’Sant Angelo in Rome

Gaspar van Wittel

(1653 - 1736) | 821.1.20

Date : 1683-1722 | Medium : Oil on canvas

Gaspar van Wittel, known as Vanvitelli, was the original painter of vedute (views), those panoramic cityscapes rendered with a concern for topographical accuracy that encompassed the whole, from points of perspective to descriptive detail, and would bring success to a certain Canaletto in Venice. The veduta was not only a new genre but a new technique established by Vanvitelli, who inspired the young Canaletto, during his visits to Rome in the 1720s.

Vanvitelli painted vedute of Venice, Florence, Naples and idealised landscapes, but his principal subject was Rome, where he lived most of the time.

This View of the Castel’Sant Angelo in Rome is a famous vista of the city that the painter reproduced more than ten times between 1683 and 1722. A more precise dating of the painting is difficult because although Vanvitelli often signed his works, he did not always give them a date, which is the case in this instance. The addition of a palazzo to the left to balance the composition and the reduced number of figures which are less tapering than they would have been at the beginning of his career, reveal his maturing style.