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Michael Wutky (Krems 1739-1823 Vienna)
PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
Michael Wutky (Krems 1739-1823 Vienna)

A view of Vesuvius erupting with Sir William Hamilton observing from afar with his crew, the painter on the right

Details
Michael Wutky (Krems 1739-1823 Vienna)
A view of Vesuvius erupting with Sir William Hamilton observing from afar with his crew, the painter on the right
oil on canvas
29 x 38 ½ in. (73.7 x 97.6 cm.)
Provenance
with Jeremy Maas, circa 1960, where acquired by the father of the present owner.

Brought to you by

Lucy Cox
Lucy Cox

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Lot Essay

Michael Wutky's artistic career began at the Vienna Academy in 1755. Just over ten years later, he became a member of the newly-founded Imperial Drawings Academy and, in 1771, he travelled to Italy. In Rome, he was commissioned by Marcantonio Borghese to work alongside Jakob Philipp Hackert (1737-1807) and Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798) on the decoration of the Villa Princiana, Rome. In Naples he was commissioned by Sir William Hamilton to paint eruptions of the Vesuvius.

The expansion of scientific curiosity and knowledge in the Age of Enlightment led to increased fascination with volcanoes, particularly amongst natural philosophers in France and England. Mount Vesuvius became a popular destination for tourists and artists alike towards the end of the eighteenth century. Michael Wutky is documented on one expedition to Vesuvius, with Sir William Hamilton in 1779, after the great eruption of the volcano in that year. The figure in the lower right capturing the eruption might be a self-portrait.

We are grateful to Prof. Riccardo Lattuada and Dot. Ermanno Bellucci for independently advancing the attribution.

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