In the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century Hendrik Voogd had become a somewhat forgotten artist. It was G.J. Hoogewerff (see: 'Nederlandsche Kunstenaars te Rome in de XIXe eeuw', in: Mededeelingen van het Nederlandsch Historisch Instituut te Rome, 13, 1933, pp. 149-50), followed by C.J. de Bruijn Kops (see: 'Hendrik Voogd: Nederlands landschapschilder te Rome', in: Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, 21, 1970, pp. 319-69) to bring him out of obscurity and to reconstruct his oeuvre. Although Voogd left behind a rich body of graphic work, only twenty to thirty paintings are known to survive today, all dating from the period between 1795 and 1831. So far only a small number of his paintings have been identified; the majority remains as yet hidden in private collections throughout Europe.
Trained under Jurriaen Andriessen (1742-1819) in Amsterdam, Hendrik Voogd left for Rome in 1788 on a stipendium from his maecenas Dirk Versteegh. He remained in the Eternal City for the rest of his life. He was appointed a honorary member of the Academia di San Luca in 1816 and six years later he was invited to join the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam.
In Rome, Voogd associated with the German and Austrian landscape painters, in particular to the Nazarene painters Joseph Anton Koch and Johann Christian Reinhart. Together with his fellow artists, he went on numerous sketching journeys through the Roman Campagna, which he later utilised in his finished compositions. For these, Voogd followed the idiom established by Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, which had been revitalised by painters such as Jacob Philipp Hackert. His contemporaries called Voogd the 'Dutch Claude Lorrain'. Classical influences are uppermost in his work up to circa 1805, whereas his later landscapes of the Roman Campagna, both ideal and topographic, are more naturalistic in interpretation.
The present painting of 1804 is a beautiful and characteristic work of Voogd's more classical period with its well-balanced composition, cool palette and light effect. The meticulously depicted wooded landscape is dominated in the left foreground by a majestic tree along the Anienne River, which reduces the nearby resting peasants to small human beings. This romantic allusion to the greatness of nature is highlighted by the late afternoon sun shedding light into the picture plane from the right. In the illuminate hazy distance one can make out the famous 'Cascatelle', the waterfalls of Tivoli, situated on the western slopes of the Sabine Hills with the Villa of Maecenas to the left and what appears to be the architecture of the Villa d'Este peaking through the tree tops at the right hand side. Voogd took these motives from his drawings of the rocky and wooded landscape of Tivoli, its cascades, rapids and ruins, as can be found in the artist's sketchbook in the Amsterdam Museum. For the ruin on the hill top to the left, Voogd took the artistic liberty to depict the Roman nymphaeum from the 4th Century, called the Temple of Minerva Medica, which was once part of the Horti Liciniani on the Esquiline Hill in Rome.