GASPAR VAN WITTEL known as VANVITELLI
Amersfoort 1652/53-Rome 1736
View of Castle of Saint Angel in Rome
inscriptions: “GVW” on the barrell in the lower portion
oil on canvas, 36.5×50.5 cm
This picturesque panorama, from the viewpoint of the bank of the Tiber, immortalizes one of the most representative and well-known buildings in Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the ancient Sant’Angelo bridge extending towards it, crowned with statues by Bernini; in the distance, Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the Vatican palaces can be glimpsed. We are approaching evening, and the busy characters that animate the scene are invested by a slanting light that casts long shadows on the ground. This evocative vision has been traced by Giancarlo Sestieri to the early activity of Gaspar van Wittel, the painter to whom refer the initials (GVW) on a barrel in the lower center. The famous painter of panoramas began his education in his home country, studying with Mathias Withoos (1627-1703). After arriving in Rome in 1674, he began his activity as a vedutista around the 1680s. According to the aforementioned scholar, the painting that is the subject of this study belongs to the painter’s first phase, “in perfect harmony with the Panoramic View of Rome from the Trinità dei Monti […] of the Colonna collection and with the View of Rome with the Broken Bridge and the Aventine in the background” of the Museum of Palazzo Braschi, dated 1681 and 1685 respectively.
“Gaspar van Wittel called Vanvitelli”, exhibition catalogue edited by Valentina Becchetti, Galleria Cesare Lampronti, Rome, 2011, pp. 30-31