Sir Charles Lock Eastlake

The Colosseum from the Campo Vaccino


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Not on display

Sir Charles Lock Eastlake 1793–1865
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 527 × 648 mm
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1964

Display caption

Eastlake was one of the most earnest of the younger artists who adopted neo-classicism in the 1820s. He painted subjects from classical history, and in Rome produced a number of landscape compositions depicting ancient ruins. Some of these continue the tradition of Thomas Jones's immediate open-air studies. Others incorporate crumbling classical buildings in formal designs dominated by architectural geometry. This is, at one level, a simple topographical view of the type made by many visitors to Rome; at another it is a refined meditation on past grandeur and its inevitable decline.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Sir Charles Eastlake 1793–1865

T00665 The Colosseum from the Campo Vaccino 1822

Not inscribed.
Oil on canvas, 20¾ x 25½ (52.5 x 65).
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1964.
Coll: See T00664.
Exh: R.A., 1823 (63); Early Devon Painters, Exeter, July–September 1932 (228 and 229 with No. T.664 as ¿ pair of views of the Coliseum’, lent by Colonel M. H. Grant); The First Hundred Years of the Royal Academy, R.A., Winter 1951–52 (260, repr. in Souvenir, p. 52); Arts Council, Early English Landscapes from Colonel Grant’s Collection, London and tour, 1952–53 (19); Italian Art in Britain, R.A., Winter 1960 (238).
Lit: See T00664.

The original title in the R.A. catalogue stated: ‘Painted at Rome’ and this picture with two other views of Rome was among Eastlake’s first contributions to the R.A. Grant (loc. cit.) points out that Rome in Eastlake’s day was infinitely more paintable when the Colosseum was ‘embosomed in picturesque confusion very remote from the smug orderliness of modern municipal-ridden Rome’. The view is taken from the Palatine Hill, which together with the Forum was known till recent times as the Campo Vaccino from its use as an enclosure for cattle intended for market.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1964–1965, London 1966.

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