Artist: George Inness (American, Newburgh, New York 1825–1894 Bridge of Allan, Scotland)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 78 3/4 x 118 1/2 in. (200 x 301 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Lyman G. Bloomingdale, 1898
Accession Number: 98.16
The Villa Barberini is located on the outskirts of the town of Castel Gandolfo, southeast of Rome. The town, a popular haunt of nineteenth-century landscape painters, overlooks Lago Albano, visible here through the trees. Inness’s division of the composition into two nearly equal parts—dark, solid earth and light, empty sky—is unusual. It may point to the artist’s interest in the philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), which possibly inspired him to seek order and balance in nature. The tallest tree, rising elegantly above its neighbors, was built up with heavy impasto, then stippled with a stiff brush. The effect is pronounced, and the foliage projects noticeably from the surface.