Following in the footsteps of his brother Andreas (1815-1910), Oswald Achenbach (1827-1905) studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. Next to the artist's mentor, the landscape painter Johann Wilhelm Schirmer (1807-1863), Andreas also had a profound influence on his work already early in his career. The artist was held in high regard nationally and internationally by his peers and received honorary memberships to the Academies of Art of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and St. Petersburg. Early on in his career he made studies of landscapes in the area around Düsseldorf. From 1843 onwards Andreas Achenbach undertook various trips throughout Europe including Italy. The peninsula would eventually prove to be Achenbach's main source of inspiration.
The artist often visited Italy. His love for Italianate subjects is clearly visible in the present lot which depicts the Arch of Titus on the Via Sacra. The Via Sacra is the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through some of the most important religious sites of the Forum, to the Colosseum. On the southeast part of the Forum we find the Arch of Titus. It is a Pentelic marble triumphal arch with a single arched opening. It was constructed by the emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his brother Titus, commemorating the capture and sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD, which effectively terminated the Jewish War begun in 66 AD.