Joséphine Sarazin de Belmont (French, Versailles 1790–1870 Paris)
Oil on paper, laid down on board
16 3/8 x 22 5/8 in. (41.6 x 57.5 cm)
Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009
Not on view
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower left): JSB Taormina 1825.
the artist (until 1839; her sale, Hôtel des Ventes, Paris, February 25–26, 1839, no. 81 or 82); [John Mitchell and Son, London, in 2004]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (until 2009)
William J. Mitchell in John Mitchell & Son. Gallery Notes. London, July 2004, p. 7, ill. (color).
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 142, no. 123, ill. (color), calls it "The Roman Theater, Taormina".
Three years later, Sarazin de Belmont completed a very similar view, "The Roman Theater at Taormina" (1828, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), with a much more active Mount Etna in the background and three figures in the foreground representing two Capuchin monks giving alms to a poor beggar in the countryside. This view of the ancient Roman theater with Etna behind it was very popular with landscape painters visiting southern Italy from the 1820s through the 1840s. Among other depictions are Achille Etna Michallon's "Ruines du Théâtre de Taormine" (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and Pierre Thuillier's "Vue du théâtre de Taormina" (Jacques Fischer-Chantal Kiener, Paris). The Washington and MMA pictures probably both appeared in Sarazin de Belmont's studio sale of 1839 (nos. 81 and 82).