The Port of Naples: ‘La Darsena delle Galere’
Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli (Amersfort 1652/3 - Rome 1736)
Oil painting on canvas, The Port of Naples: ‘La Darsena delle Galere’ by Gaspar van Wittel (Amersfort 1652/3 - Rome 1736), circa 1700. The main elements in this view are, from left to right: the naval stores constructed as part of the Darsena, with the Palazzo Reale behind the Casina Spagnola, also known as the Palazzo del Maggiordomo or dell’Arsenale, with the Forte Sant’Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino in the far distance; and the Castel Nuovo, set in powerful later bastioned fortifications. Each view differs in detail- and sometimes in scope- from the next, particularly in shipping and in staffage; the closest to that at Kedelston would appear to be the one at Petworth. Vanvitelli was one of the most influential of the Netherlandish artists who settled in Italy. The controlled perspective and accuracy of his view paintings were major influences upon Canaletto. He was in Naples under the patronage of the Spanish Viceroy, the Duke of Medinaceli, in 1700, and his son Luigi, the architect of Caserta, was born there. After 1711 his eyesight began to be affected by cataracts, necessitating huge spectacles, from which his nickname, 'dagli Occhiali', is derived.
Bought by Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Lord Scarsdale at Batt’s sale at Langford’s, 14th April 1756 for £36.4.6d; recorded in North Music Room in 1769; and thence by descent until bought with part of the contents of Kedleston with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 1987 when the house and park were given to the National Trust by Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale (1924-2000)
Kedleston Hall, The Scarsdale Collection (acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1987)
Makers and roles
Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli (Amersfort 1652/3 - Rome 1736), artist