Isola Bella in Lago Maggiore, 1871
Sanford Robinson Gifford (American, 1823–1880)
Oil on canvas; 20 1/4 x 36 in. (51.4 x 91.4 cm)
Gift of Colonel Charles A. Fowler, 1921 (21.115.1)
Gifford's second visit to the Italian Lake district in summer 1868 resulted in a painting that contrasts markedly with the pictures done of the same subject matter after his first visit in 1856. In those, taller picture proportions and high frontal sunlight made for bolder, more sculptured mountains and an amphitheatrical disposition of the setting. Here, the sun declining behind the alpine ridges generally flattens the terrain and, except for the warm palette, the picture evokes the landscapes of Gifford's colleague, John Frederick Kensett. Isola Bella is the island at right; with its terraced and pinnacled gardens, it was and remains a popular tourist attraction.