Enfilade

Exhibition | Expanding Horizons: Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 18, 2012

From the National Galleries of Scotland, as noted by Hélène Bremer:

Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 30 June — 28 October 2012

Curated by Aidan Weston-Lewis

Giovanni Battista Lusieri, The Monument to Philopappos, Athens, ca. 1805-07

Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1754–1821) was hailed during his lifetime as one of the most gifted of all living landscape artists and his exquisitely crafted works were eagerly sought by collectors. But within a few years of his death his reputation descended into an obscurity from which it has only recently begun to re-emerge. His name will still be unfamiliar to all but a few specialists, a neglect which this exhibition, the first ever devoted to the artist, aims to redress.

Lusieri was one of very few Italian artists to have adopted watercolour as their favoured medium. From the outset his work exhibits the meticulous detail, precision and faultless perspective that remained the hallmarks of his style throughout his career, combined with a panoramic breadth of vision and an astonishing ability to render brilliant effects of light. The latter part of Lusieri’s career was spent mainly in Athens as Lord Elgin’s resident artist and agent. In that capacity he was closely involved in supervising the removal and shipping of the celebrated marbles from the Acropolis, now in the British Museum.

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Catalogue: Aidan Weston-Lewis with Fabrizia Spirito, Kim Sloan, and Dyfri Williams, Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape: Expanding Horizons (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2012), 236 pages, ISBN: 9781906270469, £25 / $63 available from Artbooks.com in August

This is the first publication in English devoted to the extraordinary work of the Italian landscape watercolourist Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1754-1821). His career took him from his native Rome to Naples, then to Sicily and finally to the eastern Mediterranean, where he spent twenty years in the service of the 7th Earl of Elgin as his resident artist and agent in Athens. In that capacity he was closely involved in the removal of the celebrated marbles from the Parthenon and other monuments in Greece. Lusieri’s watercolours combine a broad, panoramic vision, an uncanny ability to capture brilliant Mediterranean light and a meticulous, almost photographic attention to detail. He was widely acclaimed as one of the most accomplished landscape artists of his day, and his works were eagerly sought by British Grand Tourists, but after his death he was soon forgotten, and only recently have his exceptional gifts begun to be recognised once again.

Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgements
Aidan Weston-Lewis — ‘The most exact and eloquent transcriptions of nature I ever saw’: Giovanni Battista Lusieri, Life, and Work
Fabrizia Spirito — Lusieri and his Contemporaries | Drawing on the Spot around Rome and Naples
Aidan Weston-Lewis — Rome | An Early Patron: Philip Yorke; entries 1-13
Kim Sloan — Naples | ‘Naples, where the landscape painter is most truly in his element’; entries 14-59
Fabrizia Spirito — Sicily | Lusieri in Sicily; entries 60-66
Dyfri Williams — Greece | Lusieri in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1800-1821; entries 67-92
Bibliography
Notes and References

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Aidan Weston-Lewis is Chief Curator at the Scottish National Gallery with responsibility for the Italian and Spanish collections. He has organised numerous exhibitions at the Gallery and been closely involved with many major acquisitions. He has a particular interest in north Italian painting and drawing of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and has published widely in this area.

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