Andrea Locatelli (Rome, 1695 – Rome, 1741)
Architectural capriccio with figures
Oil on canvas, dim. 118×122 cm. (98×102)
Andrea Locatelli is known, with good reason, as one of the pillars of Roman landscape painting of the early eighteenth century; son of a little-known Roman painter, Giovanni Francesco Locatelli, he began his training under the painter Monsù Alto, specialized in marine views.
His entire production will turn out to be very large and influenced by many artists; having been a painter of great families such as the Albani, the Colonna, the Ruspoli, the Savoy and the Ottoboni, he produced a vast quantity of works, many of which today are distributed in various countries of the world.
Despite being well described by the sources, therefore, it is difficult to have an overall look at his production, also due to interpretative errors, which have often seen him confused with the contemporary G. P. Panini. Studies have shown that in its first phase, Locatelli is greatly affected by the influence of Salvator Rosa and the compositional construction of his landscapes with ruins: and this is precisely what we can observe in this work.
In this architectural whim, with a very close cut and little immersed in the landscape, we find a series of figures intent on reproducing, studying or discussing the vestiges of the past, represented – in addition to the architectural ruins – by the statue of a philosopher placed on a high basement. On the right side of the composition, on the other hand, other figures and animals are more interested in interacting with the natural environment that surrounds them. The choice of this theme goes well with the Arcadian atmosphere that surrounds the characters: they are immersed in a delicate balance within the rural context and in full communion with it.
Our reference: A04479