English private collection;
With Galleria Antiquaria Alberto e Franco di Castro, Rome, according to Busiri Vici (see Literature);
Private collection, Monaco;
With Galerie Canesso, Paris, 2000, from whom acquired by the present owner.
Van Lint is perhaps best known today as a painter of vedute, in particular of Rome and of the Roman Campagna, but he also painted a significant number of landscapes inspired by the works of Claude Lorrain; Busiri Vici lists more than fifty and others, such as the pair of paintings sold in these Rooms, 8 July 1999, lot 79, have since come to light.1
For the present canvas and its pendant, showing a Landscape with a watermill and dancing figures (Fig. 1), Van Lint drew inspiration from Claude's monumental pair of landscapes in the Galleria Doria Pamphilij, Rome, which the artist would presumably have known in the original.2 They are amongst the largest and perhaps the finest of all the artist's Claudian landscapes, described by Coekelberghs as 'two works of exceptional quality'.3 Whilst the Landscape with a watermill and dancing figures is directly based on the Doria picture, the present painting is only inspired in its overall design by Claude's original of the View of Delphi with a procession (Fig. 2). In both pictures trees frame the left of the composition, a distant landscape with water is seen to the left of centre, a group of trees dominates the centre right, and a bridge leads to a higher ground on the right where an array of classical buildings can be seen. The staffage in Van Lint's painting is also entirely different from Claude's and is loosely based on Nicolas Poussin's Nurture of Jupiter in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin (Fig. 3). Although many of the figures in Van Lint's pictures appear to be the work of other artists – such as Sebastiano Conca, Giuseppe Chiari and Placido Costanzi with whom he is known to have collaborated – the figures here may well be the work of Van Lint himself. The artist has chosen to introduce a number of beautifully observed and naturalistic elements that are absent from Claude's interpretation, such as the hound in the centre or the shepherd leading his flock over a bridge that faintly recalls the Ponte Milvio. Van Lint also displays his heritage as a view-painter by replacing Claude's fantastical domed palace with a representation of the Colosseum; a monument that he had depicted on numerous occasions in his Roman vedute. He further includes a classical free-standing fountain, topped with a curious ancient monument that appears in other compositions by Van Lint and must be based on an original.4
1. See A. Busiri Vici, under Literature, pp. 162-99.
2. For the paintings by Claude see M. Röthlisberger, Claude Lorrain. The Paintings, London 1961, vol. I, pp. 282-83, cat. no. LV 113, no. 2, pp. 294-95, cat. no. LV 119, reproduced vol. II, figs. 197 and 207. The Landscape with a watermill and dancing figures is a second autograph version, with minor variations, of a composition Claude painted in 1648 for Cardinal Camillo Pamphilij, but never delivered and instead sold, together with its pendant, to the Duc de Boillon: it is now in the National Gallery, London.
3. See Coekelberghs, under Literature, 1971.
4. The monument appears at the left of both the signed preparatory drawing at Holkham and the signed painting of Van Lint's Capriccio view of the Casino Sacchetti (location unknown), for which see Busiri Vici, op. cit., pp. 254-55, cat. nos. 306 and 307, both reproduced.
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