Italianate Mountainous Landscape with Sunset
- c. 1640-1659
- Object type
- 21,6 x 27,7 cm
- Acquisition date
- The Palace on the Isle - Hallway, 1st floor
- Place of Origin
- Italy (Europe)
- The Royal Łazienki
- Museum number
- ŁKr 956
The paintings [Italianate Mountainous Landscape with Sunset and Italianate Mountainous Landscape with Sunrise] come from the August Sułkowski collection in Rydzyna, of which at least nine works of art went to the Stanisław August collection, probably before 1776 (see cat. no. 124). The pair of Landscapes was listed in the catalogues of the Stanisław August collection without specifying the schools or dating, and they were given a very low monetary value—two ducats each.
... After the Second World War, a monogram was discovered on Mountainous Landscape with Sunrise. ...
... cannot be associated with any artist active in the 17th or 18th century (not mentioned in lexicons nor in the Witt checklist of painters). However, if the last, partially visible letter is read as an ‘f’ (as fecit) with a decorative curl, we get the monogram used by Willem van Bemmel. ...
The scenery in the Łazienki paintings consists of a repertoire of motifs typical of 17th-century Italianists—followers of Herman van Swanevelt and his circle: rocky hills, with trees and rocks enclosing the composition, the blue ridge of the mountains on the horizon, a river, staffage in characteristic ‘Dutch’ hats, ‘Tuscan’ or ‘Roman’ architecture with flat roofs. But here one can also find several features typical of van Bemmel’s manner: the distinctive way of painting the ‘rounded’ shapes of rocky hills ... , the way of depicting the foliage, thickly applied paint layers ... , the somewhat shapeless staffage and animals, the motif of water flowing among the rocks. The idea for a pair of paintings, composed as pendants, but at the same time somehow contrasting with one another, is also very Bemmelesque ... . They represent two different times of the day: one of the scenes takes place in the light of the setting sun (yellow clouds and light in Mountainous Landscape with Tree on Right), and the other at sunrise.
Although van Bemmel’s oeuvre presents an inconsistent level of execution, his images tend to be better painted than the Łazienki pair with their lack of textural diversity and somewhat simplified rendering of details, but this does not exclude the painter’s authorship. [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 18, pp. 97–100.]