A View of Paestum

Antonio Joli (Italian, 1700-1777)
c. 1759
Oil on canvas 
30-3/16 x 47-3/4 in. (76.7 x 121.3 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

Antonio Joli’s talent as a reportorial view painter was honed through an itinerant practice that took him from Rome to London. In the 1750s, he returned to southern Italy to paint the sites for European visitors on the Grand Tour as well as local patrons.

This depiction of Paestum and the surrounding countryside displays Joli’s sensitivity to aerial perspective, as seen in the diaphanous rays of the rising sun, appearing on the eastern horizon. In the shadowed foreground, visitors walk the trails leading to the ruins. Clusters of travelers, some on horseback, approach the temples. To fend off the plateau’s malaria-carrying mosquitos, two guides carry lit, smoking torches. Paestum’s well-preserved Doric-style structures attracted architects from all over Europe. From the left, the temples of Athena, Poseidon and Hera stand within the walls of the ancient town.


John Embling (sale, London, Sotheby’s, 10 December 1975, lot 61, as A View of Paestum, to);
Norton Simon, Malibu, N.76.2.2.P., gift 1979 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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