LONDON – Two lots in the upcoming Old Master Paintings sale form part of a series of important views commissioned from Gaspar van Wittel –now known by the italianized Vanvitelli – by the ninth Duke of Medinaceli, Viceroy of Naples, in around 1700.
This unpublished view of Florence came to light only recently. The recent rediscovery of this View of Florence represents the most significant addition to the relatively few views of Florence and its surroundings painted by Vanvitelli in Italy. The view is taken looking southeast from the Cascine on the right bank of the River Arno to the pescaia di Santa Rosa. To the left, in the distance and somewhat hidden behind trees, are the dome and bell tower of the Duomo. At the centre of the painting is the Ponte alla Carraia, the second bridge to be built over the Arno after the Ponte Vecchio, depicted beyond. Furthest to the right of the cityscape is the Porta di San Frediano, welcoming thorough its gateway a procession of minutely painted figures.
GASPAR VAN WITTEL, CALLED VANVITELLI, FLORENCE, A VIEW OF THE CITY FROM THE RIGHT BANK OF THE RIVER ARNO LOOKING TOWARDS THE PONTE
ALLA CARRAIA. ESTIMATE: £1,000,000–1,500,000.
This beautiful panoramic view of the Bay of Pozzuoli, just to the west of Naples, is unique and exists in no other versions by the artist. The view is taken from the eastern shores of the Bay of Pozzuoli, close to Via Coroglio which runs parallel to the sea, and looks out over the bay towards the port of Baia (visible in the distance to the right of the tall tree in the foreground) and Cape Miseno in the centre of the picture. In greatest proximity to the shore lies the island of Nisida (on the immediate left of the bay), with the island of Procida situated beyond the Cape, and the much larger island of Ischia visible in the far distance. The shifting appearance of land and sea as it recedes towards a notional horizon is rendered with great subtlety by Vanvitelli, who no doubt chose this particular viewpoint for its scenic qualities.
GASPAR VAN WITTEL, CALLED VANVITELLI, A VIEW OF THE BAY OF POZZUOLI, NEAR NAPLES, TAKEN FROM THE EAST, LOOKING TOWARDS THE
PORT OF BAIA, WITH THE ISLANDS OF NISIDA, PROCIDA AND ISCHIA. ESTIMATE: £800,000–1,200,000.
They have never before been offered on the open market and have remained in the family of his direct descendants until recently.