Gaspar van Wittel at Sotheby's Old Master Drawings

Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Gaspar van Wittel at Sotheby's Old Master Drawings

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli Amersfoort 1652/3 - 1736 Rome View of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati Tempera; signed with initials, on the wall to the left, with the point of the brush: G:V:W:; bears black chalk numbering on the verso: 3 390 by 547 mm; 15 3/8 by 21 3/8 in

Image: Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli, View of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati Tempera, fragment

 

This large and refined tempera by Vanvitelli depicts the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati, seen from the square below (now known as Piazza del Municipio).  The buildings to the left, on which the artist has signed his initials, at the time contained the stables. There are four documented versions in oil of this famous and handsome veduta, one of which, formerly with Galleria Gasparrini, Rome, is dated 1707, but this is the only known depiction of the view by Vanvitelli in tempera. 

 

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli, View of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati Tempera, fragment

 

The monumental Villa, first built in 1550, was converted by the architect Giacomo della Porta (1532-1602) in 1598 for cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini (1571-1621), the nephew of Pope Clemens VIII (1592-1605).  The entrance gate with the decorative walls, segmented and with oval openings, was commissioned in 1693 by Prince Giovanni Battista Pamphili (1648-1709) from the architect Carlo Francesco Bizzaccheri (1656-1721).  The Pamphili family owned this property from 1681 (following the death of Olimpia Aldobrandini Pamphili) until 1763, so when Vanvitelli painted this view and the four oil versions, the villa was already in their possession.  Vanvitelli seems to have left his native Netherlands in 1674 and is first recorded in Rome in January 1675. A terminus post quem for the dating of the present tempera is, however, provided by the inclusion of the new gate of the Villa.    

 

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli, View of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati Tempera, fragment

 

We are grateful to Laura Laureati, for confirming the attribution to Vanvitelli, having seen this work in the original, and for suggesting that, like the related oil paintings, it was executed during the first years of the 18th century.  It is very plausible that the present tempera is the one mentioned in the Galleria of the Palazzo Albani, in Urbino, and recorded in Nardini's 1931 inventory: Quadretto rappresentante una Villa, dipinto a tempera da Gaspare Vanvitelli.

 

Sotheby's, New York

Old Master Drawings, 30 January 2019

Lot 37

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli
Amersfoort 1652/3 - 1736 Rome
View of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati Tempera;


signed with initials, on the wall to the left, with the point of the brush: G:V:W:;
bears black chalk numbering on the verso: 3
390 by 547 mm; 15 3/8 by 21 3/8 in

Estimate: USD 80,000 - USD 120,000

 

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