The island in the Tiber | Gaspar van Wittel | 1685
There is not so much info on van Wittel. What we do know is that he is born and studies art in Holland, right in the middle of the Dutch Golden Age; and, in 1675, he moves to Rome. There, he gets married and Italianizes his name to Gaspare Vanvitelli.
Is in the Netherlands where they began to paint large and extremely detailed landscapes. Many of the artists that worked these motifs move to Italy and continue to work on landscapes. Their popularity grew among the wealthy class and they baptized this style as veduta, word that, in Italian, means “view”.
Van Wittel, then, becomes one of the most recognized of this style and The island in the Tiber is a good example of it. Here we see a section of the river Tiber, in which we can find 2 bridges that cross it, connected by an island. The interest of the painting is basically topographic: the characters in the work are irrelevant for the artist. Mere accessories. The focus is undoubtedly put on the constructions in the island and in the bridges that led to it. Here, van Wittel shows us his technique and talent.
But the problem is that: the painting only provokes a healthy admiration for the technique of the artist. And nothing more.