Georges-François Blondel (French, 1730–after 1791)
22 1/4 x 16 in. (56.5 x 40.6 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1967 (67.797.6)
Here, Georges-François Blondel (the son of Louis XV's architect, Jacques-François Blondel) depicts a celebrated structure of eighteenth-century Rome, Ferdinando Fuga's dramatic facade of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, completed in 1743. The fragmented view, small figures, and classical architectural forms give the late Baroque structure the appearance of an ancient ruin. Unusually, Blondel rocked the mezzotint plate twice: first when preparing the ground for the design, and again when scraping the composition, creating haphazard, expressive strokes that animate the sky.