View of the Great Waterfall of Tivoli and View of the Area around Tivoli
Abraham Louis Rodolphe Ducros (1748-1810)
18th century, Watercolour on paper
These two large views, both of which can be identified with the area around Tivoli, are by the gifted Swiss watercolourist Durcos, one of the most famous landscape painters of the second half of the 18th century. The first one shows the great waterfall of Tivoli and the Temple of Vesta, while the second one depicts the valley of the Aniene, with the riverbed in the foreground and, in the background, the fortification that exists to this day. Ducros’ talent and dedicated study allowed him to experiment with a new way of depicting the landscape, using watercolour so lightly and so effectively that it almost became a new genre, and his works were greatly appreciated by connoisseurs and travellers on the Grand Tour, who wanted to bring home mementos of the marvels they had admired in Italy. He travelled extensively and documented the reclamation of the Pontine Marshes, of which he produced images that were precise down to the minutest detail. The turmoil of the French Revolution forced him to take refuge in Abruzzo, where he painted places that were not yet well known; he then settled in Naples, where he produced many maritime paintings.