Sep 30, 2010

River Landscape with View of St. Peter's Basilica

River Landscape with View of St. Peter's Basilica

after 1660

circle of Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi

(Italian, 1606–1680)

Pen and brown ink over traces of black chalk; framing lines in graphite

Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 11.4 x 26.5 cm (4 1/2 x 10 7/16 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 1978.21



With much of Saint Peter’s Basilica obscured by the energetic lines that form the foliage, the building appears integrated into the landscape in this river scene. What stands out is the massive dome jutting from the tree line. Designed by Michelangelo in 1547, the dome was completed in 1590, after his death. Michelangelo made many contributions to the architecture of Rome, but it was the dome of Saint Peter’s that fundamentally altered the city’s iconic skyline. Although loosely sketched and without fine detail, the dome in this drawing remains immediately recognizable as an emblem of Rome.

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