Lot 24
  • 24

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli

700,000 - 1,000,000 GBP
777,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
  • Two landscapes with the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola
  • the former signed and inscribed on the packmules lower left: GASP/VAN/WITTEL and BELV/D. FRAS
  • a pair, both oil on canvas
  • each: 49.5 x 98.5 cm.; 19 1/2  x 38 3/4  in.


Benigno Cristoforo Crespi (1833–1920), Palazzo Crespi, 18 Via Borgonuovo, Milan;

His sale, Paris, Lair-Bubreuil, 4 and 6 June 1914, lots 87 and 88;

Senator Luigi Albertini (1871–1941), Rome;

Private collection.


M. Nicolle, Galerie Crespi. Catalogue des tableaux anciens, Paris 1914, pp. 104–06, nos 87 and 88;

E. Modigliani, La Collezione di L. Albertini, Rome 1942, no. XV (the pair);

G. Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel e l'origine della veduta settecentesca, Rome 1966, pp. 217 and 223, cat. nos 126 and 142, reproduced;

A. Busiri Vici, Peter, Hendrik e Giacomo van Lint: tre pittori di Anversa del '600 e '700 lavorano a Roma, Rome 1987, p. 118, reproduced fig. 123 (Caprarola only);

G. Briganti in Gaspar van Wittel, L. Laureati and L. Trezzani (eds), Milan 1996, pp. 205–206, 216–217, cat. nos 203 and 232, reproduced;

L. Trezzani in F. Benzi et al., Gaspare Vanvitelli e le origini del vedutismo, exh. cat., Rome, Chiostro del Bramante and Venice, Museo Correr, 2002, pp. 158 and 182, under cat. nos 44 and 56.

Catalogue Note

Born in Holland, Gaspar van Wittel, more commonly known by his Italian sobriquet Vanvitelli, created a new type of painting around 1700, the veduta, that would inspire several generations of artists in the years to come, among them Canaletto, Bellotto and Guardi. His paintings are topographical representations of cities, palaces and villas, painted with a warm palette and always including a narrative around the daily life particular to the place depicted. 

The Villa Aldobrandini is situated in Frascati, to the south-east of Rome and still remains the property of the Aldobrandini family, for whom it was built in the 1500s. The villa was celebrated for its wonderful gardens and fountains and was described by Charles Bourdin in his Voyage d'Italie of 1699 as the best in Europe. The present view, taken from the Piazza Municipale, is described in Briganti's catalogue raisonné as the most beautiful of the five versions and by Trezzani as the earliest of all the versions (see Literature). A slightly smaller version of this view was sold in these Rooms, 16 December 1999, lot 94, for £720,000.1 The villa is also depicted in four further autograph views which encompass the east elevation of the villa.

The Villa Farnese in Caprarola, depicted in the second painting, is situated in the hills to the north of Rome. Built in several stages over the course of the 1500s, it was the brainchild of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the future Pope Paul III. The town was frequented by many Grand Tourists, among them Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, in June 1714, as well as Lord Burlington, who was in Italy 1714–15 and in 1719, and both acquired versions of the present view, the former a tempera on paper still in the Leicester collection, Holkham Hall, the latter the signed and dated drawing from 1713 in Chatsworth. The present painting is probably the earliest of all the known versions.

These two works have most likely remained together since they were painted shortly after 1700. 

1. Trezzani in Rome and Venice 2002, pp. 158–59, cat. no. 44, reproduced in colour.

2. Briganti 1996, p. 216, cat. no. 234, reproduced; and pp. 325–27, cat. no. 110, reproduced.