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Brett became a student at the Royal Academy in 1853. Here he was influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and the writings of their most powerful supporter, John Ruskin. His earliest pictures in the Pre-Raphaelite style were much praised by Ruskin. During the winters of 1861-2 and 1862-3, he stayed in Florence where he painted this picture. It shows the city from the south-west looking towards Fiesole and the Appenines. The picture adheres strictly to the principle of 'truth to nature' and is a rare example of Pre-Raphaelite townscape.

August 2004