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Giovanni Volpato (Bassano 1735-1803 Rome)
Giovanni Volpato (Bassano 1735-1803 Rome)

The Villa Montalto-Negroni, Rome

Giovanni Volpato (Bassano 1735-1803 Rome)
The Villa Montalto-Negroni, Rome
signed 'G. Volpato a Roma' and inscribed 'Veduta della Villa Negroni' (on the recto of the original mount) and with inscription 'View of the villa Negroni' (verso)
watercolour, over etched outlines
20 1/8 x 29 in. (51 x 73.8 cm)

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Lot Essay

This elegant view of the garden of the Villa Negroni is one of seven views of celebrated Roman gardens which were etched, hand-coloured and published by Volpato in collaboration with Abraham-Louis-Rodolphe Ducros in the early 1780s (although the absence of the latter's signature on this sheet could indicate that it was made by Volpato alone). As noted by Pierre Chessex, these views are 'among the most decorative examples of such large-scale prints, this view in particular echoing something of the mood of Hubert Robert's drawings and etchings of Italian scenes' (Images of the Grand Tour. Louis Ducros 1748-1810, exhib. cat., London, The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood and elsewhere, 1985-1986, no. 66, ill.). These views were particularly popular among English Grand Tourists, as is attested by the early English inscription on the verso of this sheet. Another version of the present composition is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. 2009.384), and a watercolour by Ducros with the same composition is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (inv. D-877; see ibid., no. 12, ill.).

The Villa Montalto-Negroni was the largest and most sumptuous Roman residence ever constructed within the city walls. Built in the 16th Century, it was the city residence of Felice Peretti, Cardinal of Montalto, elected as Pope Sixtus V in 1585. The villa was sold in 1784 to a speculator who sold off all the contents, and it was eventually demolished to make room for Rome's central railway station, Roma Termini.

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