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The 18th Century

Italian painting of the 18th century is represented by a large group of landscapes that illustrate the main developments in this important genre of the time. There are ten works by Jan Frans van Bloemen, known as Orizzonte, in the Palazzo Koch collection, the largest selection of his works after that of the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. Orizzonte drew inspiration from the great 17th-century landscape artists such as Poussin, Lorrain and Dughet, although his style is less grandiose. The artist sought to depict tales from mythology or episodes from the Bible in a more natural and harmonious setting.
The work of Van Bloemen is echoed in the paintings of Andrea Locatelli and Hendrik Frans van Lint. These artists are regarded, together with Van Bloemen, as the main  representatives of the genre that depicted a luminous Arcadian Roman countryside according to the tastes and demands of contemporary collectors. The passion for vedute of ancient and modern Rome spread to numerous foreign artists working in the city, including the well-known Jean-Baptiste Lallemand. The painting by Pieter van Bloemen is also illustrative of the continuing enthusiasm in 18th-century Italy for the genre themes depicted by the Bamboccianti a century earlier.
Outside Rome, 18th-century Italian vedutism is well-represented by the works of Luca Carlevarijs and Alessandro Magnasco. The latter, working in the middle of the Age of Enlightenment, sought to revive the genre of the pre-Romantic landscape introduced by Salvator Rosa and thus contributed to the later development of the 18th-century veduta.
The evolution of historical painting is instead dominated by the academic and classicist influence of Carlo Maratti, reflected in the painting by Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari and in the two works of Sebastiano Conca. Conca, in particular, re-interpreted the master’s language, enriching it with unprecedented luminosity and brilliance. The fine painting by Paolo de Matteis, from Puglia, also belongs to the widespread Arcadian movement of the first half of the century.
The quick, bright style of Giuseppe Maria Crespi, whose work is exemplified by a painting executed in his workshop, was the bridge between art in Rome in the early 18th-century and art in Venice in the following decades, as well as inspiring some of the methods introduced by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Pietro Longhi, both pupils of the Bolognese painter.
The works in the collection of the Bank of Italy thus provide an exhaustive illustration of the various trends and genres that coexisted during the 18th century, ranging from classical landscape to vedutism.


Alessandro Zuccari
indietro
avanti