Francesco Lojacono dedicated his work to understanding the movements and temperaments of nature. He painted the vistas of his native Palermo with a sensitivity and fidelity unmatched by his contemporaries. An apprentice of his father Luigi (a history painter), he inherited a classical approach to his compositions. Despite this, his works strayed from the fantastical and created a model for an idealised landscape for the photographic era. Though only in its infancy, the technological practice of photography made a great impression on Lojacono's work. However, his exploitation of colour was a triumph over such underdeveloped photographic endeavours.
In lot 121 two travellers battle against the strong gale as the clouds swirl and dance above the dusty track, a motif which is recognisable from another of his works Surroundings of Palermo painted in 1871. The bright light of the arid summer's afternoon tickles the bark of the trees, contrasting the geometric motif of the cactus. The lucid blues, greens and creams are typical of the artist's work, lending a freshness to the piece. A fluttering scarf wound around the woman's neck directly mirrors the waving branches. The adjoining lot shows a pool at sunset, intentionally painted by Lojacono to capture the poised stillness of the trees. The magic of the piece lies in the warm gold light leaking through the woodland limbs, projecting a sense of mystery.