George Inness (American, 1825–1894)
Gouache, watercolor, and graphite on blue wove paper with colored fibers
7 x 12 3/8 in. (17.8 x 31.4 cm)
Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1989 (1989.287)
Widely regarded in the late nineteenth century as America's premier landscape painter, Inness seems to have made less than fifty watercolors and even fewer drawings, and his technique in the former could be highly experimental. This picture is one of several watercolors he executed in Italy between 1870 and 1874. Even within this group, it is remarkable for its delicate balance of picturesque composition, fine draftsmanship, and painterly breadth. The minute but distinct cupolaundoubtedly Saint Peter's basilicaon the horizon at center and the road diminishing in his direction indicate that the view is westerly toward Rome, eighteen miles away.