A View of Paestum
c. 1759
Antonio Joli (Italian, 1700-1777)
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.


  • Artist Name: Antonio Joli (Italian, 1700-1777)
  • Title: A View of Paestum
  • Date: c. 1759
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 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: M.1979.52.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

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.

[on loan]

  • J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978-03 to 1978-05

[on loan]

  • New Orleans, New Orleans Museum of Art, 1976-05 to 1976-10
  • Ottani Cavina, Anna, Paestum and the Doric Revival 1750-1830: Essential Outlines of an Approach, 1986, fig. 30 pp. 62-64
  • Spinosa, Nicola, Pittura napoletana del Settecento dal Rococò al Classicismo, 1987, under no. 280, color pl. 59
  • Middione, Roberto, Antonio Joli, 1995, under nos. 25, 26
  • Spinosa, Nicola and Leonardo Di Mauro, Vedute napoletane del Settecento, 1996, no. 70, fig. 60
  • Manzelli, Mario, Antonio Joli: Opera pittorica, 1999, no. W.1, fig. XLVI
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1292 p. 391
  • John Julius Norwich, Cities that Shaped the Ancient World, 2014, cover cover and p.139
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