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Eastlake began his career as a painter but turned to arts administration, becoming Director of the National Gallery in 1851. The sale of an early picture for a thousand guineas financed some years in Rome from 1816, where he joined an international circle of artists including the sculptors Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorwaldsen, the German Nazarenes and students of the French Academy with whom he sketched outdoors from nature. His habit of painting even in bright sunshine won him the nickname ‘the Salamander’. From plein air studies he painted small pictures of Roman scenery like this view of the Colosseum.

February 2016