Hendrick Frans van Lint, one of the most in demand vedutisti of the first half of the eighteenth century, followed a well-worn path to success: born in Antwerp, where he trained for a spell under Pieter van Bredael, he made his first trip to Rome when he was just sixteen years of age, in 1700, before returning in 1710 to settle in the city where he would make his career. For a newly arrived artist from the north at the time, it must have been easier to feel a sense of belonging in Rome, with so many compatriots in the city; by the time of van Lint’s arrival, the renowned schildersbent association was well established, and it is quite probable that he met, or even trained with, Gaspar van Wittel.
Van Lint’s views of Rome were highly popular. He painted ancient monuments, countryside vistas and river views across the city, but it was his scenes on the Tiber, such as this, that allowed for a greater opportunity to explore narrative details, together with the different effects of light and colour. This view is taken from the central stretch of the river looking south from the bank opposite San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, with Castel Sant’Angelo behind and the Vatican out of view to the right. Busiri Vici commented on the high quality of the fgures and noted that this picture, together with its original pair, being a view looking north from the Ponte Rotto (op. cit., p. 90, no. 76), may originally have formed a pendant to a pair of earlier views of Venice, dated 1723, depicting Santa Maria della Salute and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore; they not only share the same provenance, but are of identical measurements (ibid., p. 80).