Sunday, June 2, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: Landscape with Diana in Repose, 1740

Landscape with Diana
Reposing from the Chase
Franceco Zuccarelli, 1740
Oil on Copper
The Royal Collection

Joseph Smith of the British Consul was responsible for amassing a large collection of art which was quite the envy of King George III. Smith had an impressive collection of Italian landscapes, notably a large group of celebrated painter Francesco Zuccarelli.

Zuccarelli’s work was notable for its luminescence which owed to his use of metal as a foundation for his paintings. He often painted on copper, giving a natural shimmer and radiance to his paintings. Smith had purchased this painting by Zuccarelli and considered it to be one of the finest by the artist. Painted on copper, the landscape features a scene of Diana—the Goddess of the Hunt—easily identified by the presence of her crescent-moon-shaped diadem—in repose. The painting is unique in that Zuccarelli has given unusual prominence to the figures and to the dogs in the composition when typically he focused only on the landscape.

George III so envied this painting that he convinced Smith to sell it to him in 1762. It has remained a prominent part of The Royal Collection ever since.

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