Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
- Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
- Messina, a panoramic view of the city towards the sea from the Colle del Tirone
- oil on canvas
- 27 1/8 by 54 7/8 in.; 69 by 139.6 cm.
With Colnaghi, London;
With Herner Wengraf, London;
Anonymous sale, Milan, Finarte, 12 December 1973, lot 71;
With Derek Johns, London;
From whom acquired by the present collector in May 1997.
E.R. Mandle (ed.), Dutch Masterpieces from the Eighteenth Century, exhibition catalogue, Minneapolis 1971, p. 119, cat. no. 105, reproduced fig. 6;
L. Salerno, I pittori di vedute in Italia (1580-1830), Rome 1991, p. 101, cat. no. 66 (reproduced in color but in reverse);
V. Consolo, Vedute dello stretto di Messina, Palermo 1993, pp. 146-47, reproduced fig. 10;
G. Briganti (L. Laureati and L. Trezzani eds), Gaspar Van Wittel, Milan 1996, p. 279, cat. no. 402, reproduced in color p. 280, fig. 402;
L. Trezzani in "Gaspare Vanvitelli, il 'pittore di Roma moderna,'" in L. Laureati and L. Trezzani (eds), Gaspare Vanvitelli e le origini del vedutismo, exhibition catalogue, Rome 2002, p. 42, reproduced p. 41.
At the time of Giuliano Briganti's monograph of 1966 (see Literature), the present painting was the only known view of Sicily by the artist and the only clue that he had ever traveled south of Naples. No documentary evidence has since emerged of his having done so, but the careful topographical details included, the fact that each of the seven known views differs, and that the city is depicted from five different sites, suggests that we can safely assume he did indeed visit Sicily. A large view of the city, which includes the beach of Santa Maria della Grotta is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Toulon, is monogrammed and dated 1712.1 Stylistically the work fits well with other paintings from this date and gives us a reliable date for his approximate arrival there. The latest date known of any of the views of the city, 1720, appears in a painting in a private collection in Prague.2
1. See Briganti, 1996, p. 280, cat. no. 405, reproduced.
2. Ibid., pp. 279-80, cat. no. 404.