The crumbling ruins with columns and antique statues in lots 322 to 328 mark out these pictures as architectural capricci. A group of paintings, all from the collection of the same owner, are veduta ideate – idealised views, composed both from real studies of Greco-Roman ruins, with settings and figures born from the inspiration of the artists who painted them.
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) described as capricci the architectural settings for large scale frescos, where pillars and arches might have a trompe l’oeil effect to look like part of the rooms on whose walls they were applied. However, by the seventeenth century, the capriccio was a genre of its own.
From the ornate plinth surmounted by a statue of Hercules slaying the Hydra in lot 323 to the time-worn obelisk in lot 327, these works remain poignant fantasies of improvised place and time – thought evoking pieces for any collection.
OLD MASTER PAINTINGS
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