Exhibitions/ Art Object

Sunset, Rome

Artist:
Simon Denis (Flemish, Antwerp 1755–1813 Naples)
Date:
ca. 1789–1806
Medium:
Oil on paper
Dimensions:
8 1/4 x 10 3/8 in. (21 x 26.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009
Accession Number:
2009.400.43
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 805
For this rooftop view, the artist raced a sensational sunset to capture its fleeting effects in shades of orange and gray. In its evocation of the Sublime, the cloud formation seen here may recall innumerable contemporary depictions of the eruption of Vesuvius on the Bay of Naples, although it was painted in Rome.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (verso): a Rome / S. Ds / 54
sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 27, 1977, no. 22, as "Vue de Rome, effet de Ciel," for Fr 820; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 20, 1996, no. 137, as "Coucher de soleil sur une ville de Toscane," for Fr 270,000 ($51,649); [Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, in 1998; sold to Thaw]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (by 2001–9)
London. Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox. "Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Drawings and Oil Sketches," June 17–July 17, 1998, no. 37 (as "Coucher de soleil: Rome").

Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Paysages d'Italie: Les peintres du plein air (1780–1830)," April 3–July 9, 2001, no. 84 (as "Coucher de soleil à Rome").

Mantua. Palazzo Te. "Un paese incantato: Italia dipinta da Thomas Jones a Corot," September 3–December 9, 2001, no. 84 (as "Tramonto a Roma").

New York. Pierpont Morgan Library. "The Thaw Collection: Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, Acquisitions Since 1994," September 27, 2002–January 19, 2003, no. 73 (as "A Roman Sunset on the Campagna").

Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. "The Romantic Prospect: Plein Air Painters, 1780–1850," June 22–August 15, 2004, no. 7 (as "A Roman sunset on the Campagna").

Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Plein-air Painting in Europe, 1780–1850," September 4–October 31, 2004, no. 7.

Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Plein-air Painting in Europe, 1780–1850," November 19, 2004–January 16, 2005, no. 7.

The Hague. Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis. "Dreaming of Italy," March 11–June 25, 2006, no. 13 (as "A sunset on the Campagna").

Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century Drawings and Oil Sketches. Exh. cat., Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox. London, 1998, unpaginated, no. 37, ill. (color), states that the influence of Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes "is very apparent" in this sketch and suggests that it may be related to Denis's "View on the Quirinal Hill, Rome" (now MMA 2003.42.20).

Anna Ottani Cavina. Paysages d'Italie: Les peintres du plein air (1780–1830). Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 2001, p. 131, no. 84, ill. (color), observes that the imbalance between land and sky recalls similar works by Valenciennes.

Cara Dufour Denison in The Thaw Collection: Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, Acquisitions Since 1994. Exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library. New York, 2002, pp. 162–63, no. 73, ill. (color).

Valentina Branchini. "Simon Denis (1755–1813) in Italia: Dipinti e Disegni di Paesaggio." PhD diss., Università di Bologna, 2002–3, pp. 16–17, 118–21, no. 47, ill.

Charlotte Gere in Plein-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1850. Exh. cat., Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. Shizuoka, 2004, pp. 42–43, no. 7, ill. (color).

Henk van Os. Dreaming of Italy. Exh. cat., Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2006, pp. 82–83, 124, no. 13, fig. 26 (color), dates it about 1790.

Geneviève Lacambre. "Two Series of Studies in Oil on Paper Numbered by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes and Simon Denis." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, pp. 74, 81, no. 54, calls it "Sunset in Rome" and deduces that the number 54 on the verso situates it within the range of works similarly inscribed 38 through 74, whose primary motif is the sky.

Ann Hoenigswald. "Manipulating Paint: The Shorthand of Plein-Air Technique." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 16, fig. 13 (color detail).

John House. "Impressionism and the Open-Air Oil Sketch." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 86.

Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 116, no. 44, ill. (color), calls it "Sunset, Rome".



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