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Idyllic Vision of Tivoli in Dresden

April 21, 2012

Jakob Philipp Hackert (1737-1807)
The Sibyl’s Temple in Tivoli, c.1770
Oil on Canvas - 45 x 56 cm
Dresde, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Photo : Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, SKD

The Art Tribune reports of the Dresden Museums’ acquisition of Jakob Philipp Hackert’s The Sibyl’s Temple in Tivoli. The site appears repeatedly in western European painting — many an artist made the pilgrimage.  It still stands, largely as one sees it in Hackert’s image, and where those three figures stand one today can sit and dine. Nearby is the great Villa D’Este with its world renown and jaw-droppingly elegant multi-tiered gardens and fountains. And also a vicino (“in the vicinity”) is Hadrian’s Villa.

Additional information about this painting and its acquisition:

The Dresden museums have just purchased a landscape by this artist representing The Sibyl’s Temple in Tivoli (ill.) from a private collection for the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. The walks which Jakob Philipp Hackert took around the outskirts of Rome with his large drawing boards, in the company of his brother Johann Gottlieb, were described by his friend Goethe who published his journal after he died. This view was probably drawn on one of these outings then painted later in his studio. We know that the site was one of the favorite motifs for Italian and foreign artists exploring the Roman countryside from the 17th to the 19th century, as illustrated recently by an exhibition at the Musée Cognacq-Jay.

Hackert did not like to paint the figures in his compositions and often entrusted the task to other artists such as Wilhelm Tischbein. Here, except for three small, barely distinguishable human forms, there are only two goats in the foreground to bring some life to the landscape.

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