Lot 11
  • 11

JOSEPH ANTON KOCH | Landscape near Paliano

180,000 - 220,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Joseph Anton Koch
  • Landscape near Paliano
  • oil on canvas
  • 36 by 50.5cm., 14 by 20in.


Purchased by the present owner in 1978 


Otto R. von Lutterotti, Joseph Anton Koch, 1768-1839, Leben und Werk, Vienna, 1985, p. 311, no. A 22, catalogued (erroneously ascribed to a follower of Koch)

Catalogue Note

Landscape near Paliano epitomises Koch's idealising classical landscapes. The artist clearly attached considerable importance to Landscape near Paliano, as he painted the composition at least three times. All three versions were painted circa 1825, the other two being in the Angermuseum, Erfurt, and in the Österreichische Galerie des XIX. und XX. Jahrhunderts im Oberen Belvedere, Vienna, respectively. The view can be identified as Paliano seen from the campagna between the Monti Lechini and the Colli Albani, from an inscription by Koch on a drawing of the same view of 1825 (Providence, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design). A squared up pencil study of the view is in the Bibliothek der Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna. Koch's landscapes are firmly rooted in the classical tradition, both in their artful composition and the staffage and architecture they depict. Deeply inspired by the classical writers Ovid and Aeschylus from an early age, as well by Michelangelo, Raphael, and the seventeenth-century classical paintings of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, Koch nevertheless believed that neoclassicism could and should blend seamlessly into Romanticism and have ideological motivations. The picture spirits the viewer into a timeless, bygone realm populated by shepherds, shepherdesses, and ploughmen. From the foreground, the eye is led by clear compositional lines over copses and lush river valleys to sunny plateaus and rugged hills, topped by the medieval hill-top town of Paliano, to evoke a harmonious, cosmic unity.

The importance Koch attached to tempering cold observed reality with aspects of the sublime is perhaps a reflection of his poor rural upbringing. Koch himself started life as a shepherd boy in the remote Tyrolean valley in which he was born. His talents attracted the attention of the Bishop of Augsburg, who funded his education at the Dilling Seminary and then his art training at the Karlsschule in Stuttgart. Yet like Schiller before him, Koch felt stifled by the school's harsh drill and fled by way of Strasbourg to Switzerland. Apart from a brief three-year intermezzo in Vienna from 1812 to 1815, which he also found intolerable, Koch lived in Rome from 1795 until his death, his adopted country providing him with his greatest creative inspiration.

In Rome, Koch proved an immensely influential figure on the succeeding generation of German Romantic painters working there, including the Nazarenes, Carl Philipp Fohr and Carl Rottmann.

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Christian Holst in a letter dated 10 May 2008 to be sold with this lot, in which he explains the reasons for Lutterotti's previous unwitting misattribution.