CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
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Property from Colnaghi, London, New York and Madrid

CARLO BONAVIA | THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND

Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USD

Property from Colnaghi, London, New York and Madrid

CARLO BONAVIA | THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND

Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USD

Description

Property from Colnaghi, London, New York and Madrid

CARLO BONAVIA

Active in Naples during the second half of the 18th Century

THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND


signed lower left on stone: C.Bonavia P. / a. 1757

oil on canvas

unframed: 54½ x 54½ in.; 138 x 138 cm.

framed: 55¾ by 55¾ in.; 141.6 by 141.6 cm.

Condition Report

The canvas has an old glue relining. The surface of the painting is quite nicely retained, with beautiful detail and tonality throughout. Under UV: minimal touches are visible, apart from a few dots in the lower right, a small touch in the water lower center, some small feathered touching in the sky above the bare tree, and one or two touches at the upper edge. Otherwise, a large impressive picture in wonderful condition. Offered in a modern gilt slip frame.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report  is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Catalogue Note

"This is a superb example of a classical landscape by the Neapolitan, 18th century painter Carlo Bonavia and typical of the type of painting favoured by visiting Grand Tourists. The artist contrasts the tranquil elegant landscape at sunset with the mythological story of Diana and Actaeon which unfolds in the foreground and culminates in the young hunter’s tragic death at the hands of his own hounds."


James Macdonald


While Carlo Bonavia seems to have been trained in the Neapolitan landscape tradition of Salvator Rosa and Leonardo Coccorante, it was the French painter Claude-Joseph Vernet who most influenced his style. Vernet was intermittently in Naples between 1736 and 1746, and the circle of artists he influenced included not only Bonavia but also Pierre-Jacques Volaire, Lacroix de Marseilles and Francesco Fidanza. Bonavia occasionally copied Vernet’s compositions, especially at the outset of his career, and favored the delicate Rococo palette of the French master. Bonavia did, however, develop his own distinctive style, with a chalky finish and atmospheric approach which differs significantly from Vernet.


Little is known about the life of Bonavia. He is thought to have been from Rome, though active in Naples between circa 1751 and 1788, the years of his earliest and latest dated paintings. He specialized, as in the present work, in capricci in which real features of the countryside surrounding Naples – in this case the Temple of Diana at Baiae– are placed in imaginary, romanticized settings characterized by dramatic lighting and soft tonalities. His idyllic landscapes were popular with Grand Tourists, who flocked to Naples in the eighteenth century. Among his patrons were Lord Brudenell, who commissioned an Eruption of Vesuvius in 1757, and Graf Karl Jopseh Firmian, the Austrian ambassador to Naples in the 1750s, who owned seventeen works by Bonavia.


Although referred to as the Temple of Diana by 18th-century scholars, due to the marble friezes in the interior depicting hunting scenes, the building depicted here by Bonavia was actually part of a bath and villa complex, located in the fashionable Roman seaside resort of Baiae on the Bay of Naples. The Temple seems to have been a favored motif with the artist, appearing as it does in several other canvasses by Bonavia. In the present work, the temple, crowned by a colossal ogival dome, already half-collapsed in the artist’s day, is bathed in the golden light of dusk.  While the figures in the foreground appear to simply be a group of bathers, in fact it depicts the story of Diana and Acteon from Ovid's Metamorphoses, at the moment when the young hunter Acteon surprises the goddess Diana while she is bathing with her nymphs. 

CARLO BONAVIA  |  THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
Property from Colnaghi, London, New York and Madrid
CARLO BONAVIA | THE TEMPLE OF DIANA AT BAIAE, AN IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE WITH THE STORY OF DIANA AND ACTEON IN THE FOREGROUND
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