Details: PROUT, Samuel (1783-1852). Tivoli, Temple of Vesta. [Italy: circa 1830]. Watercolour, pen-and-ink, and gouache, on thick paper. Signed "S. Prout" lower center. Sheet size: 18 5/8 x 12 5/8 inches.
Wonderful original watercolour by Samuel Prout of the Roman Temple of Vesta ruins at Tivoli.
This brilliantly executed watercolour depiction of the remains of the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli epitomises Prout's uncanny ability to create evocative images of architectural ruins. It was of course a popular Romantic fad to use ancient buildings to stir up melancholic reflections in the viewer; Prout however seems to have been too fond of light and detail for sad reflections. His works are often celebrations of sunlight and sculpted masonry that feel affirmative and rich.
His passion and talent for drawing were evident from an early age but he was in his thirties when he found what was for him the perfect expression for his talent: watercolour drawings of early architecture. From then on he travelled throughout Europe, capturing the Roman ruins and Gothic structures in the ancient towns and cities. He ultimately produced 14 illustrated books derived from his drawings and enjoyed great success. John Ruskin liked his work immensely and wrote a memoir about him. Prout was honored royally by George IV and Queen Victoria, for whom he was "Painter in Watercolours in Ordinary".
This view of the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli lovingly depicts the richly carved architrave and Corinthian capitals, the fluted columns and their losses, perfectly catching the shadows aa the sun begins to set. His vantage point emphasizes the curve of the temple, revealing the mountains in the distance.
A similar image is held by the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool.
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