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August 15, 2017 to March 18, 2018


The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
New York  New York  10016
United States
The Morgan Library & Museum

Views of Rome and Naples: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection

Franz Ludwig Catel (German, 1778–1856), The Bay of Naples with Vesuvius and Castel dell’Ovo, ca. 1818–20, oil on paper, mounted on cardboard. Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009; 2009.400.18.

During the second half of the eighteenth-century, a journey to Italy was considered an essential component in the education of young artists and noblemen from Northern Europe. Although Venice and Florence were requisite stops on the journey, artists tended to make their longest stay in Rome, and they generally also spent time in Naples.

Both cities offered celebrated archeological sites and a taste of the unspoiled rural life of the campagna. Working outdoors, artists recorded their observations of these natural and man-made wonders in small-scale studies, mostly executed with oil paint on paper. In these oils, painters captured the grandiosity of Rome’s classical ruins and the sublime natural beauty of Naples, with its famous view of Mount Vesuvius. Artists from France, Belgium, Germany, Norway, and Sweden are featured in this selection.