Pen and black ink, brush and brown wash, with white gouache and graphite
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 52.2 x 39.9 cm (20 9/16 x 15 11/16 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1982.40
This work recalls the words written by the artist's close friend, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who declared that an artist should "give his work of art a content and a form through which it appears both natural and beyond Nature."
Influenced by the landscapes of Claude Lorrain and seventeenth-century Dutch artists, the German Jakob Philipp Hackert was one of the most successful landscape artists based in late 18th-century Rome. His precise renderings of beautiful and historic sites attracted an international clientele on the European grand tour. This finished drawing depicts one of Italy's most spectacular natural phenomena, the Marmore waterfall at Terni, located north of Rome. Hackert carefully crafted the composition so that the detailed cliffs covered with foliage frame the tiered cascade from its soaring heights to its final emptying in the foreground. Hackert was known for traveling to the countryside on foot with large portfolios so that he could execute complete wash drawings like this one directly in nature. He probably drew this scene during one such sketching tour in 1776, or 1778.
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