Circa 1750 Italy
Studio of Francesco Zuccarelli – A Landscape
Height 31 1/2 inches (80 cm)
Width 41 inches (104 cm)
Depth 4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm)
Studio of Francesco Zuccarelli circa 1750
Peasants by a river, a town beyond
Oil on canvas; held in original period giltwood frame
Provenance: The Viscounts Chetwynd
Francesco Zuccarelli began his artistic training very early in Florence and Rome. In 1732 he relocated to Venice and while continuing to paint religious and mythological works increasingly devoted his output to landscapes, his style taking after that of Marco Ricci. Ricci’s death in 1730 created an opening in the field of landscape painting amid a marketplace crowded with history painters and Zuccarelli’s unique blend of countryside and Arcadia quickly achieved success with him becoming the city’s leading landscape painter. In his softly coloured, gentle landscapes, Zuccarelli placed more importance on romantic idealism than on realistic details. His Arcadian scenes with picturesque peasants earned an international reputation emulating the great master Claude Lorrain whose work he had studied in Rome at the beginning of his career.
Thanks largely to Joseph Smith, Canaletto’s patron, Zuccarelli’s works developed a strong English market. He visited England from 1752 to 1762 and again from 1765 to 1771. He became a founding member and President of the Royal Academy and greatly influenced English landscape painting. Elected to the Venetian Academy in 1763, Zuccarelli became its president in 1772. He also worked in Paris and in the northern Italian town of Bergamo and spent his last years in Florence.
Such was his reputation and success his work was eagerly sought by grand tourists and connoisseurs alike, both in Italy and England. This particular landscape had long been considered a work of the master but in more recent years is accepted as a work by his studio. It was probably purchased in Italy in the eighteenth century by one of the Viscounts Chetwynd and was still with the family until the death of the ninth Viscount in 1965 when it passed to a family trust.