Title: Villa d'Este, Tivoli
Gouache, watercolor and ink
Dimensions: Image: 9 x 13 3/8 inches (22.9 x 34 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Jennifer, Gale, and Ira Drukier, and through the Warner L. Overton, Class of 1922, Endowment
Like many of his artist compatriots, Dutch painter and draftsman Isaac de Moucheron journeyed to Italy in 1695 to survey its artistic and cultural landscape. Nearly forty years later, Moucheron executed from memory this idealized view of the gardens surrounding the Villa d’Este. Here, Moucheron combines Italianate architectural details with hallmarks of Dutch landscapes—namely, a gnarled tree with plush green foliage offset by a mountain range in the distance. Although the focus of this drawing is the landscape, Moucheron’s attention does not wane with regard to his figures. Rather, Moucheron depicts a host of toga-clad revelers enjoying the present-day grounds of the Villa d’Este. These classicized inhabitants transform the villa, which by the mid-1730s had fallen into a state of disarray, into a Roman Arcadia. Thus, the villa is suspended in time twice over: Moucheron transports the grounds as viewed in the 1690s to a pleasure-field for his Roman forefathers. As a nod to Bernini, who, in 1660, was commissioned to design additions to the villa, Moucheron adds two stone figures: a sculpture that cribs from both Pluto and Proserpina and Apollo and Daphne. ("FIGURE/STUDY: Drawings from the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," text by Brittany R. R. Rubin and presented at Carlton Hobbs, LLC January 25-February 2, 2019)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.