Road to Rome to take centre-stage at Sotheby's​

30th November 2015

Auctioneering giant Sotheby's has announced the sale of The Road to Rome: A Distinguished Italian Private Collection, Part I during Masters Week in New York on 28 January 2016, in what will be one of its first major lots of 2016.

According to Art Daily, the collection will include 35 view and portrait paintings, all of which will offer a scintillating display of Grand Tour taste.

The golden age of view painting

Landscape painting has been captivating audiences all over Europe since the Renaissance, but towards the end of the 17th century it was view painting that really rose to prominence.

One of the most eye-catching examples is the Italian veduta, filled with stunning panoramic views.

A pioneer of this fascinating sub-genre was Gaspar Vanvitelli, whose depiction of A View of the Castel Sant’Angelo from Prati offers an vivid glimpse into the realities of Rome at the turn of the century.

It is in this piece where we see an embodiment of everything we have come to know about Rome. The stark contrast between citizens going about their daily lives amid the backdrop of spectacular historical monuments is something that still resonates with many people today.  

When it goes on sale at Sotheby's, experts estimate it could fetch as much as $300,000 to $400,000 (£199,000 to £265,000).

Another painting expected to do well is Bernardo Bellotto's A Capriccio River Landscape with a Church to the Left, a work that really brings out the characteristics of the substantial development in Grand Tour taste for capricci and imaginary landscapes.

Driven by aristocrats

The Grand Tour was a huge hit with aristocrats during the 18th century and included a number of Italy's most famous cities on the way, such as Venice, Naples and Rome.

Such romanticised wanderlust sparked a tremendous interest in art, with many sitting down for some of the great portrait painters of the day. Others snapped up view paintings as a sort of pre-modern postcard.

These endeavours may seem reckless to many modern-day onlookers, but the travels undeniably helped to inspire some of the great artistic talents of the time.

Now those artistic talents are to be showcased at the Sotheby’s London galleries between December 5th and 9th, culminating in a January exhibition and sale in New York.

In an interview with Art Daily, Mario Tavella, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Europe could barely contain his excitement, stating: “This beautiful and academic private collection from the Eternal City encompasses two parts: the first contains stunning examples of Italian vedute, the second a beautiful neoclassical group of works of art and mosaics by distinguished Roman artists such as Valadier, Righetti, Raffaelli and Aguatti. These were assembled during the 20th century with the same passion and enchantment which spurred the buying habits of the grand tourists two centuries before."

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