Ludwig Richter - The Bay of Naples with a View of the Castel dell'ovo and Vesuvius
The Bay of Naples with a View of the Castel dell'ovo and Vesuvius
Oil on canvas. 41 x 51 cm.
On the reverse of the canvas presumably signed by the artist: Ludwig Richter pinx. Neidhardt writes about this in his expertise "Whether the inscription affixed to the verso of the canvas represents a handwritten signature is to be assumed, but must be regarded as unusual for the following reasons: No known signature of Richter contains a "Sütterlin-t". The artist always signed "Richter" with "Latin t". The written first name and the suffix "pinx" are also unusual. Nevertheless, Richter, as an old man, could have attached the lettering - perhaps on special request."
Ludwig Richter, born in Dresden in 1803 as the son of a copperplate engraver, embarked on his first journey to Italy in 1823 at the age of 20. For three years the artist stayed there and produced a wealth of drawings, on the basis of which he created numerous oil paintings of Italian landscapes after his return to Dresden. The present view of the "Gulf of Naples" is one of these characteristic Italian vedutas. It can be attributed to the late work of the artist and was dated by Hans Joachim Neidhardt to the period around 1850/60: "At that time Richter occasionally began to paint Italian motifs again or pick up on earlier themes”. Our painting, too, is likely to be based on the young artist's travel sketches. In the spring of 1825, Richter went on a hike from Rome to Naples together with some artist friends. In his biographies he later conveyed the first impression he had of the city: "In Naples a new magical world unlocked itself, a true paradise for the landscape painter. (cf. Ludwig Richter: Lebenserinnerungen eines deutschen Malers, Selbstbiographie sowie Tagebuchniederschriften und Briefen, edited by Heinrich Richter, Leipzig 1909, p. 237).
In our painting the viewer's gaze is lead from a sitting young shepherdess in the foreground, whose gesture of melancholy can be traced back to Dürer's depiction of Melencolia, over the calm waters of the Bay of Naples to Castel dell'ovo and Vesuvius, the landmarks of Naples, which can be seen in the background.
Dr. Hans Joachim Neidhardt, Dresden, 18.1.1992
West German private collection. - Lempertz auction 690, Cologne, 15.5.1993, lot 1574. - Private collection, Westphalia.