Display caption

Wright was increasingly influenced by the diffuse Mediterranean lighting of the Roman countryside. He wrote of 'an atmosphere so pure and clear that objects twenty miles distant seem not half the way'. No record exists of Wright's having seen Mount Etna in Sicily. He probably worked from another artist''s view, which might account for topographical inaccuracies. Here the large expanse of cool light that veils Mount Etna is the focus of the painting. Crisp, calm air suffuses the architecture and surroundings. However, the ravaged lava fields in the foreground stand as a reminder of nature''s ability to overwhelm human presence.

August 2004