53
53

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
ROME, A VIEW OF THE PORT OF RIPA GRANDE
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
JUMP TO LOT
53

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
ROME, A VIEW OF THE PORT OF RIPA GRANDE
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
AMERSFOORT 1652/3 - 1736 ROME
ROME, A VIEW OF THE PORT OF RIPA GRANDE
signed with initials and dated on the stone lower right: G.W./1690
oil on canvas
20 1/4  by 39 3/4  in.; 51.5 by 101 cm.
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Provenance

Marquis de Masclary, Montpellier (1817-1869);
By descent to Comtesse Joseph de Masclary, Tours, by 1959 and until at least 1966;
By descent to a European nobleman;
By whom anonymously sold, London, Christie's, 4 July 1997, lot 112;
There acquired by the present collector for $1,041,139.

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Paysages d'Italie, 1947, no. 138;
Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts, L'Art ancien dans les collections privées de Touraine, 12 July - 20 September 1959, no. 22.

Literature

G. Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel e l'origine della veduta settecentesca, Rome, 1966, p. 213 no. 118, reproduced;
G. Briganti, Artisti in Roma nel Sei e Settecento, Rome 1988, p. 47;
E.A. Safarik & G. Milantoni, Fasto Romano: dipinti, sculture, arredi dei Palazzi di Roma, Rome 1991, p. 126, under cat. no. 33;
L. Salerno, Pittori di vedute in Italia (1580-1830), Rome, 1991, p. 87, under cat. no. 36;
View Paintings of a European Collector, London 1996, p. 16;
G. Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel, Milan 1996, p. 200, cat. no 190, reproduced, and p. 176, under cat. no. 121;
S. Melikian, "Risk is Rising in Old Masters Game," The International Herald Tribune, 12-13 July 1997, p. 9;
S. Reyburn, "Stepping forward a century - the remarkable rise of 'newer' Old Masters," Antiques Trade Gazette, 2 and 9 August 1997, reproduced p. 33;
L. Laureati et. al., Gaspare Vanvitelli e le origini del vedutismo, Rome 2002, p. 69.

Catalogue Note

Vanvitelli's sweeping view of the Ripa Grande in Rome, an early work by the artist, is a beautifully-rendered depiction of the Eternal City's main river port, giving today's viewers a glimpse into daily life at the end of the 17th century.  The right side of the painting shows the Via Marmorata, along which marble from the quarries at Carrara was transported, while on the opposite bank are the main ramps of the port, near the Customs House, with the tower of the church of the Santa Maria in Torre behind it.  Beyond this are also the Pamphilij palazzina and the church of Santa Maria in Capella, the only building in this group that remains today.  Though seen far in the distance, the Capitol serves as the centerpoint of the composition. 

After training in his native Amersfoort, Gaspar Van Wittel, better known by his Italian sobriquet Vanvitelli, spent most of his life in and around Rome after 1675, save for a few trips to the North of Italy, Venice and Naples. He is rightfully considered one of the fathers of the Italian vedute, or panoramic view based on a real place. His combination of faithful description of his environs, in part based on the Northern tradition, with anecdotal quotidian events, was hugely successful. Religious sites and antique ruins were often replaced by views never before depicted which showed the reality of modern Rome; everyday places or ancient sites which were still in use, such as the Ripa Grande, seen here, provided the perfect setting.  Vanvitelli's inimitable sense of the warm Italian sunlight added a further allure and grand romanticism to these scenes of daily life. 

There are two other versions of this composition in oil recorded, though unlike the present painting neither of them are signed or dated. The first, in the Accademia di San Luca, Rome, is slightly smaller and has different staffage.1  The second, in a private collection, Rome, is larger and composed in a slightly taller format; it not only has different staffage but also includes a large tree on the right side in the foreground. Vanvitelli also painted a version in tempera on parchment which is in the Colonna Collection, Rome.

The present painting, signed and dated 1690, was once accompanied by a pendant view of The River Tiber at the Porto della Legna, Rome, now in a private collection, London (fig. 1).The pair remained together in the Masclary collection, but the Porto della Legna appeared on the London art market on its own in 1989. 


1. See Briganti 1996 under Literature, p. 200, cat. no. 191, reproduced p. 201.
2. Ibid., p. 200, cat. no. 193, reproduced p. 201.
3. Ibid., p. 200, cat. no. 192. 
4. Ibid., p. 176, cat. no. 121, reproduced p. 177. 

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