A View of the Vestibule of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome
Artist and publisher:
Georges François Blondel (French, 1730–after 1792)
Mezzotint; published state
Sheet: 22 1/4 x 16 in. (56.5 x 40.6 cm)
Prints, Ornament & Architecture
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1967
Not on view
Georges-François Blondel was the son of a leading French architectural theorist Jacques-François Blondel. After training in Paris, he worked first in Rome and then in London, where he learned the technique of mezzotint engraving. This print depicts a celebrated structure of eighteenth-century Rome, Ferdinando Fuga's dramatic facade of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, completed in 1743. It is one of nine architectural views the artist published between 1765 and 1767. His taste for monumental classical structures and his tendency to make even modern subjects resemble ancient ruins suggest his admiration for Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1788). The fragmented view, small figures, and classical architectural forms which Blondel created similarly give the late Baroque structure the appearance of an ancient ruin. Unusually, Blondel rocked the mezzotint plate twice: first when preparing the ground for the design, and again when scraping the composition, creating haphazard, expressive strokes that animate the sky.
Inscription: Engraved in plate below image, lower right: "G. F. Blondel Delin-t & Sculp" Engraved in plate, below image: "A View of the Vestibule of St. Mary at Rome / To the R-t Hon-ble Milete Lady Harvey This Plate is most Humbly Dedicated by her Ladyships most humble Serv-t. G. F. Blondel / Plate 4. Publish'd according to Act"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 6, 1997–January 4, 1998.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 12, 2010–October 3, 2010.
Inventaire du Fonds Français.x.7; Dodgson 1922.4
Campbell Dodgson "The Mezzotints of G. F. Blondel." Print Collector's Quarterly. 9, 1922, cat. no. 4, p. 312.
Jacob Bean, John J. McKendry "A Fortunate Year." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 27, no. 6, New York, February 1969, p. 317, ill.