248
248

PROPERTY FROM ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION

Circle of Bernardo Bellotto
A VIEW OF VAPRIO, ON THE LEFT AND CANONICA, ON THE RIGHT LOOKING NORTH-WEST FROM THE WEST BANK OF THE ADDA, NEAR THE BREMBO CONFLUENCE; A VIEW OF CANONICA, ON THE LEFT AND VAPRIO, ON THE RIGHT LOOKING SOUTH FROM THE MONASTEROLO ON THE WEST BANK OF THE ADDA
VAI AL LOTTO
248

PROPERTY FROM ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION

Circle of Bernardo Bellotto
A VIEW OF VAPRIO, ON THE LEFT AND CANONICA, ON THE RIGHT LOOKING NORTH-WEST FROM THE WEST BANK OF THE ADDA, NEAR THE BREMBO CONFLUENCE; A VIEW OF CANONICA, ON THE LEFT AND VAPRIO, ON THE RIGHT LOOKING SOUTH FROM THE MONASTEROLO ON THE WEST BANK OF THE ADDA
VAI AL LOTTO

Details & Cataloguing

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Circle of Bernardo Bellotto
A VIEW OF VAPRIO, ON THE LEFT AND CANONICA, ON THE RIGHT LOOKING NORTH-WEST FROM THE WEST BANK OF THE ADDA, NEAR THE BREMBO CONFLUENCE; A VIEW OF CANONICA, ON THE LEFT AND VAPRIO, ON THE RIGHT LOOKING SOUTH FROM THE MONASTEROLO ON THE WEST BANK OF THE ADDA
Quantità: 2
a pair, both oil on canvas
each: 48.5 by 73 cm.; 19 1/8  by 28 3/4  in.
Leggi la scheda di conservazione Leggi la scheda di conservazione

Provenienza(e)

Probably John Monson, 3rd Baron Monson (1753-1806), and perhaps acquired on his travels in Italy in 1774 and 1775 or acquired by Frederick John, 5th Baron Monson (1809-1841) of Burton Hall.

Nota a catalogo

These compositions are closely based on a pair of paintings by Bellotto previously in the collection of the Dukes of Abercorn and currently in a private collection in Milan.1  The stylistic similarities between the pairs suggest the hand of an artist who was closely associated with Bellotto and active in his circle.  The quality of the brushwork and precise observation of detail in the present pair is extremely high.  The paintings are identical in size and replicate Bellotto’s originals in almost every detail.

Vaprio and Canonica lie on either side of the Adda river 30 km north-east of Milan.  The river provides the traditional boundary between the province of Milan and the province of Bergamo with Vaprio falling under the governance of the former and Canonica under the latter.  The twin towns were built at the confluence of the Rivers Adda and Brembo and the Naviglio Martesana and were traditionally a popular choice of summer residence for the Milanese aristocracy.  Vaprio, in particular, was a noted beauty spot and favoured by other vedute painters, such as Vanvitelli, who painted it seven times.2

Both paintings depict the Villa Melzi d’Eril, the former on the left and the latter on the right, behind a row of cypress trees.  The Villa Melzi was built in 1483 by Giovanni Melzi who was a consigliere ducale at the Sforza court.  It was here that he met Leonardo da Vinci who repeatedly stayed at the Villa between 1507-13 as a guest of his favoured pupil Francesco Melzi’s family.  During his visits to the Villa, Leonardo made a study of hydraulics inspired by the waters of the Adda beneath the villa.  His hydraulic sketches and notes are preserved in the Codice Atlantico in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

Almost half of Bellotto’s known views of Lombardy depict Vaprio and Canonica.  Other larger, autograph versions of these compositions are known in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples and sold London, Christie’s, 3 December 1997, lot 90.  The latter is signed BERNARDo.BELOTTo.DETo.IL/ CANALETO and both paintings differ only in the figure details and clouds in the sky.  Another larger composition depicting the same view, but from further down the river, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Bellotto’s Lombard views are generally dated 1744.  A preparatory drawing in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt for the Metropolitan Museum of Art painting is inscribed: “Copia dela Veduta di Vaver e Canonica del Sigr: Bernardo Belloto deto: il Canaletto/ per il llo: Sigr: Conte Simonetta/ l’anno 1744”.  The early provenance of the Abercorn paintings is unknown although the prominence of the Villa Melzi has led some to suggest Antonio Melzi as a possible patron.


1. C. Beddington in Bernardo Bellotto, exhibition catalogue, Milan 2001, pp. 124-127, nos. 29 and 30.
2. G. Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel, Milan 1996, pp. 253-5, nos. 326-332.

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