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