These pictures express a contemplative attitude in Hackert's oeuvre, juxtaposing men and animals at work and rest in a peaceful, sunfilled Italian landscape. The second picture presents a view of the coastal town of Terracina, located near the boarder between the Kingdom of Naples and the Papal States, with two of its most familiar landmarks in the centre distance--the gently rising slope of Monte Sant'Angelo and the sharp cliff of Pisco Montano. The tower in the middle distance is a torre badino, or defensive tower, typical of parts of the Italian coast.
After working since 1786 as the court painter to King Ferdinand IV of Naples, whom he first met in 1782, Hackert was forced to flee Naples after the Revolution of 1799. Moving north, he settled in San Pietro di Careggi, near Florence, where he spent the rest of his life. The present view, dated 1802, is related to several drawings made in Terracina (Nordhoff, nos. 791 and 792), through which Hackert would have often passed on his journeys between Naples and Rome. As characteristic of Hackert's realistic approach to landscape, these pictures occupy an important place in his late work.
Our thanks are due to Dr Claudia Nordhoff, who plans to include these two pictures in an upcoming exhibition catalogue and journal article.