Entrance to the Grotto of Posillipo, Naples

John "Warwick" Smith British

Not on view

This Roman tunnel cut through the rock near Naples provides access to coastal towns to the west and was a favorite subject for artists. Smith lived in Italy between 1776 and 1781, supported by his patron George Greville, 2nd earl of Warwick. The artist worked closely with fellow Britons William Pars, Thomas Jones, and Francis Towne to develop watercolor’s potential. Of the group, Smith enjoyed the highest reputation as a colorist; here, he applied warm washes to delineate steep stone cliffs bordering the approach to the so-called grotto and deeper tones to describe indentations left by quarriers and a memorial plaque in the left foreground. A developed version of the scene was engraved and published in the artist’s Select Views in Italy (1792).

Entrance to the Grotto of Posillipo, Naples, John "Warwick" Smith (British, Irthington, Cumberland 1749–1831 London), Watercolor over graphite; attached to original paper mount with gray wash line

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