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Jean Lemaire, Capriccio with Architectural Perspectives
Type
Painting
Subject
Landscape
 
 
 
Date
1630s
Material and technique
oil on canvas
 
 
 
Measurements
cm. 74 x 98
Compiler
Alessandro Zuccari
 
 
 
Description
Several imposing buildings set around a large square occupy the entire area of the canvas. Some of them really existed; others are freely inspired by Italian architectural styles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. On the left of the painting, the buildings of the Campidoglio and the ancient statues erected there are partially reproduced.  It is possible make out one of the two statues of river gods that flank the stairway to the Palazzo Senatorio, as well as one of the magnificent Dioscuri and an idealized version of the Palazzo dei Conservatori. In the background, a tower recalls Palazzo Venezia and through a large double portico an airy landscape is visible.
The French painter Jean Lemaire, who worked in Rome in the first half of the seventeenth century, specialized in such perspectives, depicting architectural elements taken from books alongside real buildings. Human figures are kept to a minimum, in contrast with the paintings of his contemporary, Codazzi, from Bergamo. Moreover, they are extremely small in proportion to the buildings and provide the only element of life in Lemaire’s vedute. As in many of the French painter’s works, light is a key feature, conferring an almost metaphysical quality to the cityscape.
Capriccio with Architectural Perspectives
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