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CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
James Finlay Fine Art Appraisals

Chapter 8. The Case of Camaldoli

Recently, I visited a client to appraise a small collection of paintings. At the conclusion of my visit as I was about to leave the lady of the house asked my opinion of a painting which she had inherited. The work was framed, under glass and appeared to be egg tempera on paper. It measured approximately 12 x 17.5 inches was unsigned, however the word Camaldoli written in pencil, appeared at the bottom centre in the border. The piece was in good condition except for some minor lifting of the medium.

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown, Camaldoli

Pietro Fabris

Pietro Fabris, Vue de l'île d'Ischia, prise du couvent des Camaldoli de Naples

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown, probably Vue de l'île d'Ischia, prise du couvent des Camaldoli de Naples

My initial reaction was that this was an extraordinary spiritual and contemplative work of an idealized landscape executed by a competent and skilled practitioner; reminiscent of 18th C. landscape painting and appeared to be of European origin. I told her I would look into it further and report my findings.

My research soon revealed a very similar image, entitled Vue de l'île d'Ischia, prise du couvent des Camaldoli de Naples (View of the island of Ischia taken from the Camaldoli Monastery of Naples) circa 1760 by Pietro Fabris (active 1768-1779), which appeared as a hand-coloured etching, plate XVII, in an 18th C. publication entitled Campi Phlegraei ou Observations sur les Volcans des Deux Siciles, (Campi Phlegraei or Observations on the Volcanos of the Two Sicilies) by William Hamilton, Naples 1776-1779. Pietro Fabris had been employed by Hamilton to paint specific images of areas of volcanic activity for inclusion in his book.

The image depicts a view from the Camaldoli Monastery across the Campi Flegrei (Flegrei Fields) toward the island of Ischia, which appears in the background. Campi Flegrei also known as the Phlegrean Fields (Greek for “burning fields”), is a large caldera area situated in the west area of Naples, Italy.

The Holy Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli are situated in a thousand year-old forest of the Tuscan-Romangese Appennines, founded between 1024 and 1025 by St. Romuald. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. It is almost entirely mountainous with the highest peak being volcanic Mt. Epomeo, which was active in Classical times.

Further research yielded an image by an unidentified artist, which depicts an almost identical view in the Camaldoli picture. In my opinion this image and the Camaldoli picture were painted by the same artist and were of the same view, painted from a similar location. Thus the title of the Camaldoli picture appears to be Vue de l'île d'Ischia, prise du couvent des Camaldoli de Naples.

It is interesting to note that the view of the Gulf of Naples and over the Phlaegrean Fields inspired the artistic production of a whole generation of landscape painters from the 19th century, who were known as the “Scuola di Posillipo” (Posillipo School). The Posillipo School included such important painters as Anton Smink Pitloo, Giacinto Gigante and Teodoro Duclère.
Next Issue: The case of Looe Pool and the artist’s great-great grandson.

Next: The Case of Looe Pool and the artist’s great-great grandson.

 Sun, Feb 4, 2007