Gardens of the Villa d'Este at Tivoli

Artist: Charles Joseph Natoire (French, Nîmes 1700–1777 Castel Gandolfo)

Date: 1760

Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown and gray wash, watercolor, heightened with white, over black and red chalk

Dimensions: 12 5/16 x 18 11/16 in. (31.3 x 47.5 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1965

Accession Number: 65.65


Director of the French Academy in Rome from 1751 to 1775, Natoire taught many young French artists, including Hubert Robert and Jean Honoré Fragonard. During this period he received occasional commissions for paintings but increasingly devoted his time to landscape drawings, often worked up in watercolor. The Villa d’Este in Tivoli, outside Rome, was a favorite destination for Natoire and his students, popular for its dramatic vistas featuring fountains and statues set amid lush foliage. In this example, we see the Fountain of the Water Organ flanked by trees, with a cascade falling below. Invented figures enliven the foreground.