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$ 55,000

View of the Campidoglio, Rome

Origin Austria
Period Pre 18th Century
Materials Oil on canvas
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date Early 17th Century
Description Size: Without frame: 8" high x 10 1/2" wide (20 x 27 cm.)
With frame: 12” x 14 1/2" wide (30.5 x 37 cm.)

Johann Wilhelm Baur was a descendant of a family of goldsmiths who had been active in Strasbourg since the sixteenth century. The family was well connected with the wealthiest families in the city, as well as being members of a guild which united various artistic trades, including gold and silversmiths, painters, sculptors, gilders, engravers, printers and bookbinders. Johann Wilhem’s father was also a member of the Great Council, a political group that ran the city of Strasbourg with representatives of both the nobility and each of the twenty corporations, plus a bailiff.
Most of our knowledge of Baur’s career comes from Joachim von Sandrart (1606–1688) who knew him in Rome between 1629 and 1635. Baur had first studied in Strasbourg in the atelier of Friedrich Brentel. Baur stopped in Stuttgart in the early seventeenth century where Duke Jean Frederic de Wurtenberg had become known for his sumptuous festivities recorded by Friedrich Brentel (la pére), circa 1580–1651, in Strasbourg.
Baur, J.H. Schönfeld (Biberach, 1609 – Augsburg 1682), and Skreta, or Screta, Kart (Prague, 1610-1674) traveled together to Rome, the ideal of contemporary artists desirous of perfecting their artistic education.
In Rome Baur was under the protection of the Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani, the patron of many northern artists, as well as Paolo Giordano Borghese who introduced him to his brother and Prince Marcantionio II Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, who in turn introduced him to further Roman nobles.
Baur went on to Naples where he earned a great deal of money and stayed for a time, also due to his love for a woman there. In Naples he painted Vesuvius erupting, before returning to Rome by 1634. In Rome he painted a group of brightly colored tempera miniatures of Roman monuments, including St. Peter’s, Trojan’s Column, Piazza di Montecavallo, Villa Borghese, as well as the villas of Frascati and Tivoli, in both round and rectangular format (see G. Briganti, Gaspar Van Wittel é l’origine delle vedute settecentesca, Rome 1966.) and the painting pictured here, the Campidogio. His works in Naples were collected by Ferrante Spinelli, Duke of Tarsia, and Sanseverio di Bisignano who were amongst the greatest art patrons of Naples.
In Rome in the 1630s, Baur was given commissions by Cardinal Mazarin (Baur’s miniatures at the Louvre are from Mazarin’s collection). Mazarin already had many of Baur’s works in his Roman palace before he established himself in Paris. It was Mazarin who probably recommended Baur to the Colonna family in Rome.
Baur also painted large format idealized landscapes in oil. As engraver, the artist also produced eleven plates for the first volume of De Bello Belgico by Fra Damiano Strada, documenting the military campaigns of Alessandro Farnese, who commander the Spanish in the Netherlands.
Baur’s Vedute dei Giardini, the gardens of Tivoli and Frascati, and 151 plates for Ovid’s Metamorphosis were published in 1639-40.
Baur’s presence in Italy during the 1630s was particularly important to the future of landscape painting. His paintings were the first to faithfully represent the depicted location, documenting the place with great precision. Their format reflected Baur’s skill as a miniaturist. Often conceived in series, each painting is of a celebrated place and very different from any of his previous work. Original in their point of view, sufficiently exact in perspective, Baur’s paintings were preceded by preparatory drawings, of which there is an album at the Museum of Strasbourg where, amongst mythological, religious, and gênre scenes, there are landscapes of Italian cities. His representations of contemporary Italy also portray the picturesque animation of city life, with the parade of carriages and the passage of people of quality. His paintings started the veduta as an autonomous gênre, their size and precision appealing to a new type of client from abroad.
Mathias de Medici’s agent in Rome, after the time of Pope Urban VIII, was instrumental in collecting works of the northern artists working in Rome, including Wilhelm Baur’s, Jan Miel, Jacques Courtois, and others.
Baur left for Vienna in late December 1637 and married his third wife there in 1638. Baur made a trip to Venice and Padua circa 1637 and was again in Vienna by 1640. The Galleria Borghese in Rome displays a collection of Baur’s work, consisting of five miniature views of Rome with multiple personages in diverse postures. There is a pair of these in the F. Perry Collection in Atlanta, as well as a miniature cityscape of Venice in the Costantino Fioratti Collection and also in the Musée de Strasbourg which had an exhibition in 1998.
Styles / Movements Old Master
Dealer Reference Number PNG 18-46
Incollect Reference Number 181071
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