This picture dates from 1753, the last year of the artist's two-decade-long sojourn in Italy and the same year that he was received as a full member of the Académie Royale in Paris and returned to France to undertake a large commission for Louis XV portraying the Ports of France. It therefore reflects the full development of a landscape type that had brought the artist such international renown and led to his recall to France to work on a major Royal commission. The scene, which recalls the rocky coastline around the bay of Naples, is imaginary - an idealised view designed to evoke memories of Italy for the Grand Tourist when he returned to his own land. Vernet's pictures, such as this, succeed so well in this regard partly through the stunning naturalism with which he paints landscape elements such as the shoreline, cliffs and water, and also through the sense of atmosphere he creates through his subtle use of light and colour.
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