View of St. Peter's and the Vatican from the Janiculum
Richard Wilson (British, Penegoes, Wales 1712/13–1782 Denbighshire, Wales)
Black chalk with stumping, heightened with white
Sheet: 11 3/16 × 16 7/8 in. (28.4 × 42.9 cm)
Bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971
Not on view
In 1750, Richard Wilson traveled to Italy, where he hoped to advance his career by winning portrait commissions from young British aristocrats making the Grand Tour, and to widen his knowledge of art by studying ancient works of sculpture and architecture. Instead, he would achieve success during his seven-year sojourn in Italy by painting views of that country's distinctive landscape. He made this drawing in 1754 for William Legge, second earl of Dartmouth (1731–1801), as part of a large group of drawings depicting views in Rome. Wilson appears to have painted his landscapes primarily in the studio, incorporating studies made on the spot (in oils, graphite, or chalks) with conventional motifs and methods of composition inspired by Claude Lorrain. Here, Wilson frames a prospect terminating in Michelangelo's great dome of St. Peter's with picturesque trees and travelers, and juxtaposes the precisely described architecture with softly rendered clouds.
Inscription: Inscribed in pen and ink on mount, lower left: "R. Wilson f. Romae 1754" Inscribed in pen and ink on label affixed to lower center of mount: "Vatican." Inscribed in pen and ink on mount, lower right: "No. 13"
Earl of Dartmouth, Patshull House, Wolverhampton; Christie's, London, January 29, 1954, no.15; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London)(bought at the preceding); Walter C. Baker(bought from the preceding); Donor: Walter C. Baker
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Walter C. Baker Collection of Drawings," June 2, 1960–September 4, 1960.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 14, 1997–July 20, 1997.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 27, 2003–April 28, 2003.
Yale Center for British Art, Yale University. "Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting (New Haven and Cardiff)," March 6, 2014–June 1, 2014.
Claus Virch Master Drawings in the Collection of Walter C. Baker. New York, 1962, cat. no. 87.