This evocative rendering of Italian scenery has been identified as a view of the Vale of Ariccia. Located in the Alban Hills between Lake Nemi and Lake Albano, about sixteen miles (twenty-six kilometers) southeast of Rome, Ariccia has long attracted writers and artists, including landscape...
This evocative rendering of Italian scenery has been identified as a view of the Vale of Ariccia. Located in the Alban Hills between Lake Nemi and Lake Albano, about sixteen miles (twenty-six kilometers) southeast of Rome, Ariccia has long attracted writers and artists, including landscape painter Sanford Gifford, who wrote in a letter to his father in 1856 that he had “walked to Arriccia . . . and through the beautiful little valley between Ariccia and Albano, which offers pictures ready-made at any turn. All this region is the favorite summer resort of the artists, and of the Roman nobility many of whom have villas here.” Inness had visited the Alban Hills during his first trip to Italy in 1851–52, and he worked there again during his second Italian sojourn from 1870 to 1874. He probably painted this canvas on this second trip. Although Inness signed and dated his canvas, the last digit is unclear and may be either a 2 or a 4. However, the horizontality of the composition and the warmth of the palette seem more consistent with the artist’s work of 1874. Inness painted several views of the town of Ariccia itself and three images of the nearby valley, including this lush panorama of olive trees and grazing sheep, with the edge of the town to the left. Two other paintings relate directly to this one: the misnamed and unfinished Perugia, Italy (about 1873, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona), which shows the view from a slightly different vantage point, and Italy (about 1872–74, Philadelphia Museum of Art), a preparatory painting in which Inness worked out the compositional details for Italian Landscape. Henry P. Kidder, a Boston financial leader and one of the founders of Kidder, Peabody & Co., a banking firm established in 1865, was the first owner of Italian Landscape. He bequeathed it to his son, Nathaniel T. Kidder, who in turn gave the painting to the Museum as part of his bequest in 1938. Notes 1. Michael Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007), 424. 2. Gifford to Elihu Gifford, October 15, 1856, in Sanford R. Gifford, “European Letters,” March 10, 1856–August 10, 1857, typescript, vol. 2, p. 123, Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. 3. Quick, George Inness, 424. Janet L. Comey
Lower right: G. Inness 187
After 1872, Henry P. Kidder (1823-1886), Boston; about 1886, by descent to his son, Nathaniel T. Kidder, Milton, Mass.; 1938, bequest of Nathaniel T. Kidder to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 13, 1938)
Bequest of Nathaniel T. Kidder