Watercolor over graphite
Sheet: 48.7 x 66.9 cm (19 3/16 x 26 5/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1997.137
John Robert Cozens's watercolors became widely known after the doctor who treated him during a mental breakdown in 1794 enlisted two other artists to produce copies for circulation.
During the 18th century, views of Italy and the Continent were in great demand among British aristocrats on the Grand Tour. Cozens journeyed to Italy and Switzerland twice in his career, making pencil and wash sketches from which he later derived highly finished watercolors for various patrons. The artist’s somber palette, limited to muted greens, grays, and blues, produces a melancholy, hazy effect in this landscape. The site depicted here has thus far proved unidentifiable and may be an amalgamation of memory and imagination. The left portion of the composition relates to another watercolor depicting a view of Velletri, a town outside of Rome; the cottage and trees in the right foreground seem English, and the central plain and winding river appear to be pure invention.
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