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Ariccia, Near Rome

Not on view

Ariccia, Near Rome

Artist: Russell Smith (American, 1812 - 1896)

Date: 1851-1852
Medium: Graphite on cream, medium weight, smooth paper
Overall: 7 7/8 x 11 15/16in. (20 x 30.3cm)
Signed: inscribed in graphite, recto, lower left: 'Lavinia'; inventory number
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 99.30
Label Text
The Philadelphia landscape painter Russell Smith traveled to Europe in 1851-52. His stated purpose was to "have a better opportunity [there] of acquiring and studying amongst superior landscape artists." He visited popular landscape and architectural sites and private collections from Wales and the Scottish Highlands to Italy. During his travels he made numerous drawings and oil sketches of the places he visited.

The scene depicted in this drawing is located about sixteen miles southeast of Rome. For centuries, Romans retreated to Ariccia to escape the summer heat. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described the town in 1828 as a "delightful spot-situated on a gentle hill, surrounded for miles with beautiful scenery." Numerous American artists were attracted to the charms of Ariccia as well, including George Loring Brown, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford Gifford, George Inness and Robert Weir.

Smith painstakingly outlined the architectural features of the view. He spent less time sketching the landscape elements in the left and right foreground of the drawing. In 1860 Smith used this drawing as the basis for a painting (private collection). He faithfully reproduced the drawing's architectural details but the landscape details are substantially different.