New Book | The Observing Eye: Jean Hoüel in Malta

Posted in books by Editor on August 24, 2013

Published by Midsea Books and available from ArtBooks.com:

Thomas Freller, The Observing Eye: The French Artist Jean Hoüel in Malta (Santa Venera, Malta: Midsea Books, 2013), 194 pages, ISBN: 978-9993274179, €38 / $60.

9789993274179Jean Pierre Louis Laurent Hoüel is rightly described as master of the ‘vedutismo itinerante’. Art historians have acknowledged his important contributions to the development of 18th-century landscape painting. Volume four of his magnus opus, the Voyage pittoresque des îles de Sicile, de Malte et de Lipari, contributes substantially to our knowledge of Malta and Gozo during his two visits in 1770 and 1777. This new book also includes more sketches and reproductions of Hoüel’s original gouache paintings now preserved in the Hermitage in St Petersburg. The qualities of these gouaches and plates, especially his neo-classical rigour and verism, make his work an important source of documentation for the archaeological and classical heritage of Malta and Gozo. Except the sketches, watercolours, and works on oil on canvas by his contemporary Louis Ducros, no other artist has carried out such a number of firstquality depictions of Malta’s landscape, archaeological sites, architecture, and country folk. The accompanying text makes clear Hoüel’s profound knowledge – at least by the standards of his times – of the history, geo-physical structure, and folklore of the Maltese archipelago.


1. Life of an Artist
2. The Preparations for the Second Tour to Sicily and Malta
3. Hoüel in Malta in 1777 and its Echo in his Voyage pittoresque
4. Hoüel’s Voyage pittoresque and the Aftermath
5. Hoüel and the Secret Network of Freemasonry
6. Transcription and translation of Voyage pittoresque des îles de Sicile, de Malte e de Lipari; pittoresque des îles de Sicile de Malte et de Lipari

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