Discovery: Giovanni Battista Lusieri

In preparation for a few days in Venice (travelling down by train across the Swiss Alps) I’ve read much of Ruskin on Venice and gazed dreamily at Canaletto’s hallucinatory paintings. As often happens, in my unsystematic research for a trip, I discovered a once much-admired artist whose work is new to me: Giovanni Battista Lusieri.

Known to his admirers-which included Lord Byron who described him as ‘an Italian painter of the first eminence’-as ‘Don Tito’, his only recent show was at The Scottish National Gallery in 2012. His graceful watercolour of the Naples coastline is enchanting, a painting I could lose myself in for hours, as is his fastidiously detailed Herculaneum Gate at Pompei. The painting that I chose to hang on my blog today (would that I could hang it on my study wall) is his sharp, true depiction of an ancient vase hidden inside a marble urn.

A Bronze Vase within a Marble Urn (1804) - Giovanni Battista Lusieri

A Bronze Vase within a Marble Urn (1804) – Giovanni Battista Lusieri

8 thoughts on “Discovery: Giovanni Battista Lusieri

  1. Wow. That’s a painting for which it would almost be worth assembling a “Topkapi” team of thieves. Off to have a look at the Naples painting and more, thanks.

  2. What a stunning painting. It’s captivating. I will definitely look for more of his work.

    And don’t forget to wave as you train by – one of my favorite train rides is what you’ll be doing on your way to Venice. I hope you have good weather for it.

    • There isn’t a huge body of his work and because there are quite a few watercolours, they tend not to be exhibited much because they degrade so much faster than oils.

      I will be thinking of you and waving as I go through Switzerland.

  3. That image absolutely stopped me in my tracks as I was browsing back emails. It’s absolutely beautiful. Crisp and perfect.

    I hope Venice is (or was if you’ve already been) an absolute delight.

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