Thanks to our chapter’s generosity, this special piece has been brought back to life, paying homage to its beauty.
Italian figurative art has always been characterized by an interest in the human figure and its relationship with the surrounding world, while the representation of nature remained of minor importance. Until the 16th century nature was represented in paintings as a decorative background. It is at the beginning of the 17th century that landscape slowly becomes the main subject of many paintings.
Landscape painting as an independent genre was created in the Northern countries such as Flanders where, between the 15th and 16th centuries, landscape paintings appeared as popular home decorations.
In northern Europe and the German-speaking realms, the Reformation had separated much of the population from Roman Catholic culture and its religious imagery. It was here that the first great painters of landscape painting developed. In Italy, landscape painting only became an independent genre in the 17th century, with the affirmation of the ideal landscape imagined by artists such as Lorrain, Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Poussin and the pre-Romantic Salvator Rosa.
Italian landscape painting grew and developed primarily in Rome. It was there that Annibale Carracci transformed the 16th century Venetian landscape into a classically arranged humanistic landscape. It was also in Rome that the heroic and ideal landscapes of Lorraine and Poussin as well as the realistic Northern landscapes by Brill and Elsheimer developed. In the Eternal City that landscape genre was Italianized by the painter Agostino Tassi and eventually “romanticized” by Salvator Rosa.
This small Vatican canvas belongs stylistically to the genre of “ideal” landscapes of Annibale Carracci. The scene represents a shepherd in the foreground with his herd while in the background there is a view of trees, glades and rocks.
This painting was restored several years ago. However, this restoration only concentrated on the canvas and its fixing.
Unfortunately, the conditions of the painted surface were precarious. The colors were cheeping and detaching from the surface in several areas. Furthermore, there were numerous touching up from the past which appeared very oxidized and resulted visible to the UV and false colors.
After the photographic campaign before the restoration, our restorers took care immediately of the consolidation of the detached painted areas and of the overall cleaning in order to remove the old yellowed layer which had been spread on the entire surface.
Some large areas both in the centre and in the lower left hand corner had been previously entirely repainted and in order to better preserve the whole layout and aesthetic beauty of the piece these portions have been cleaned and preserved. On the other hand, those areas where the color was missed and detached have been plastered and reintegrated with a delicate watercolor touch up. The final step consisted in a final protective varnish applied on the surface of the painting.
The frame as well underwent a conservation work. It was cleaned and fixed where necessary. Missed color was reintegrated with watercolors.