Hitherto unpublished, the attribution to Hackert for the present painting has been confirmed by Dr. Claudia Nordhoff in a certificate, dated January 2004, that accompanies the present lot. The picture is an addition to four other views of the Villa Albani by the artist, all of which are dated 1779. These are the pictures at Schloss Georgium, Dessau; Pushkin, near St. Petersburg; Sotheby's, London, 10 July 2003, lot 62; and a fourth, now lost picture, formerly at Pavlosk Castle until 1925. All depict the Villa Albani from the south from the Villa Patrizi where Hackert is known to have stayed as a guest of the Patrizi family in 1779. The present work relies heavily on the Pushkin picture which was purchased in 1782 by the Russian crown prince Pawel Petrowitsch who had visited the Villa Albani during his trip to Rome in March 1782. Both pictures are the same size and although there are some minor differences in the landscape, Hackert employs an identical composition with the same figure grouping in the right foreground.
The Villa Albani was built by Carlo Marchionni for Cardinal Alessandro Albani, the nephew of Pope Clement XI, between 1743 and 1763. Used principally as a summer retreat, the villa housed a large collection of Classical sculpture assembled with the help of Johann Joachim Winckelmann.