View of St. Peter's and the Vatican from the Janiculum

Richard Wilson British, Welsh

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 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.

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 chalk on blue paper; laid down on original paper mount with purple border

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