Carl Wuttke - Roman Veduta with the Piazza della Bocca della Verità
Roman Veduta with the Piazza della Bocca della Verità
Oil on canvas. 88.5 x 130 cm.
Signed lower right: C. Wuttke Mchn..
Following his training at the Berlin Academy and under Angelo Quaglio in Munich, Carl Wuttke took a sojourn to Italy lasting from 1874 to 1876, before returning to complete his studies at the Düsseldorf Academy in 1880, and finally settling in Munich in 1885. He travelled widely thereafter, visiting the USA, Egypt, Palestine, Russia, China, and Japan, each time bringing back numerous sketches and studies. He used these as the basis for vedutas which he carried out in his studio. These works are characterised by their vivid colours, naturalistic depiction of light, and spontaneous, pastose brushwork.
This pastose style is perfectly preserved in the present work. It depicts the Piazza della Bocca della Verità in Rome with its various edifices ranging from the ancient times to the 17th century. The building on the left edge of the work is presumably the temple of Portunus, with its façade of four Ionic columns supporting a triangular gable. The building had been erroneously referred to as the temple of Fortuna Virilis since the Renaissance, and the name of the neighbouring “Trattoria della Fortuna” is probably a reference to this. The temple was built around 100 B.C. and converted into a Christian church in the 9th century, which is thought to have saved it from demolition.
The rotunda temple of Hercules Victor is visible on the right. This was previously, and also erroneously, referred to as the temple of Vesta. The round column temple was erected in 120 B.C., making it the eldest marble building preserved in Rome. In 1132 it was converted to a church devoted to St. Stephen, thus also escaping destruction.
Between the two ancient temples, we see the Fontana dei Tritoni commissioned by Pope Clemens XI in the 17th century. The fountain is designed as a bowl supported by two tritons, and is not to be confused with Bernini's Fontana del Tritone in the Piazza Barberini, which depicts just one triton. Behind the fountain we see the Romanesque spire of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, the vestibule of which houses the famous “Bocca della Verità” (Mouth of Truth) which lends the piazza its name.
Collection of Josef Oster (1866-1945), Aachen, subsequently by descent to the current owner.