The attribution has been confirmed by Dr. Dario Succi in a certificate which accompanies the present lot. Dr. Succi points out that the composition is reliant on a drawing by Canaletto of 1720 in the British Museum, London (see fig.1), suggesting that the Langmatt Master either referred to this directly or another painting derived from it. The drawing acted as the point of departure for an early painting by Canaletto, datable to 1 (private collection; see the catalogue of the exhibition Canaletto - Prima Maniera, Venice, 2001, pp. 66-67, no. 33), that differs from the drawing not only in the arrangement of the figures and detail but also in the inclusion of several monuments in the foreground: a large urn on a pedestel on the right and an obelisk and fountain on the left. Canaletto again referred to the drawing for an upright picture of 1742 in the Royal Collection, that formed part of a set of five Roman views. In order to adapt the view to a vertical format, Canaletto was forced to make significant compositional changes so that only the edge of the Colosseum is visible on the right and the perspective is altered on the wall on the left side.
The differences between these two pictures and the drawing, none of which translate to the present picture suggest that the British Museum drawing must have been the primary visual source for the Langmatt Master. Since no other Roman views by the artist are known, it can be assumed that the present picture was painted in Venice with no recourse to first hand experience of the sight. Nevertheless, he makes several changes: the viewpoint is lowered, the wall is extended on the left, the height of the Colosseum lowered in relation to the Arch and the architecture seen through the Arch has been simplified. The staffage is entirely different and more akin to Canaletto's Venetian figure painting in the 1740s. Only the muleteer passing through the archway recurs. The most compelling evidence that the artist must have had access to the drawing in person is provided by the inclusion of the date at the end of the inscription on the archway, in the same place where Canaletto dated the drawing AUGUSTO X 1720. As Succi remarks, the present picture thus takes on great significance as the only known dated work by this master.