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''View of the Isle of Sora''

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''View of the Isle of Sora'' ''View of the Isle of Sora''
''View of the Isle of Sora''
''View of the Isle of Sora'' "View of the Isle of Sora" ''View of the Isle of Sora''
 
  Joseph Pierre Xavier Bidauld - Oil On Canvas - 113 x 144 cm - 1793 - (Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
 
 




Born the son of a clockmaker and goldsmith, Jean Joseph-Xavier Bidauld became one of the finest Neo-classical landscape painters in France. After some rudimentary painting instruction from his older brother, Bidauld attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. In 1783 he moved to Paris, where the perfumer and art dealer Dulac became his patron and sponsored his trip to Italy, where for five years he lived in Rome and traveled widely. Bidauld's journey would shape his artistic outlook, which would remain nearly unchanged for the next sixty years, almost exclusively dedicated to landscape painting. His luminously rendered sweeping vistas, with meticulously painted foliage and architecture, aligned with the fashionable style of Neo-classical landscapes.

This painting, exhibited at the Salon of 1793, depicts the village of Isola del Liri and the Castle of Boncompagni near Sora. Formerly ruled by the Byzantines and then the Lombards, the town's main sight is the Castello Boncompagni, a fortified medieval palace which cuts the river Liri into two waterfalls, Cascata Grande and Cascata del Valcatoio, each about 30 meters high and with the singularity of being the only in the world precipitating into a populated settlement. The castle was the main residence of the Della Rovere family and their successors of the Duchy of Sora, the Boncompagni. In the 17th century, Costanza Sforza turned into a luxurious palace, with biblical frescoes and bas-reliefs of the duchy's lands and a garden, and in 1796 it was sold to the King of Naples and annexed to the Papal States. Shortly after, the French army would partly destroy it during a siege of the city.

This picture expresses the Neo-classical taste for the beauty of ancient constructions, which pushed many artists to start a pilgrimage to explore the ruins of great civilizations. It also shows a transition towards the rising admiration for gothic constructions characteristic of Romanticism, a style that would highlight the sublime.

This picture expresses the Neo-classical taste for the beauty of ancient constructions, which pushed many artists to start a pilgrimage to explore the ruins of great civilizations. It also shows a transition towards the rising admiration for gothic constructions characteristic of Romanticism, a style that would highlight the sublime.



 


 
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