View of the Palatine Hill and the Temple of Romulus

Jean Barbault French

Not on view

Drawings by Barbault are exceedingly rare, only about ten have been published. These are the first two landscape drawings to come to light, although there must have been many, as hundreds of prints of Roman sites are described as after drawings by Barbault. Two drawings, depicting different sites, but with the same medium and dimensions as the proposed pair, were noted in the inventory of the marquis de Marigny, directeur des bâtiments du roi, who had visiting Rome in 1750. Aside from the inscriptions on the mounts, the attribution is also supported by the style, especially that of the figures, which are close to others in Barbault’s paintings. The choice of black and white chalk on blue paper for landscape drawings was popular among French pensionnaires in Rome around 1750.

The drawing depicts a spot at the base of the Palatine Hill in Rome The early Christian church of San Teodoro, referred to in the inscription on the mount as the Temple of Romulus, is seen in the distance at right, but the composition is dominated by what appears to be a large farm house, with shelter for animals on the right and for human inhabitants on the left.

The drawing was acquired together with a pendant (see 2014.459.1).

Perrin Stein, February 2018

View of the Palatine Hill and the Temple of Romulus, Jean Barbault (French, Viarmes 1718–1762 Rome), Black and white chalk

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