Road to S. Maria de Monti, Naples
Road to S. Maria de Monti, Naples, 1781
Watercolor applied with brush, and graphite
21 x 28.1 cm (8 1/4 x 11 1/16 inches)
Anonymous gift 71.153.13
(February 3 –July 8, 2012)
While living in Naples during his six-year sojourn in Italy, Thomas Jones returned often to sketch in this secluded spot outside the city. The watercolors and oil sketches from this period present an immediate and personal encounter, focusing on the light and shadows at specific times of day. For Jones, this particular trail was captivating because it called to mind the landscapes of the great 17th-century Neapolitan Baroque painter Salvator Rosa. Jones wrote in his diary on June 2, 1781: “Here may visibly be traced the Scenery that Salvator Rosa formed himself upon … Every hundred yards presents you with a new and perfect composition of that Master.”(May 27 –August 14, 2005)
From 1776 to 1786, Jones was in Italy as Francis Towne’s companion and guide. They spent most of their time in Naples, where this scene was sketched, and Rome. Note Jones’s inscription at the upper right corner of the sheet indicating the direction of the sun and that he was capturing morning light. The wonderfully detailed scalloped patterning of the foliage in graphite is characteristic of his work. The watercolor is employed in the typical mode of the topographic tradition to fill in the outlines of a drawing with color.
Pilgrims of BeautyArt and Inspiration in 19th-Century Italy
Edited ByLeise, Jennifer, ed.
Contributions byCrawford, Alexander Mann III
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, 2012
TypeJournalsSelection IIBritish Watercolors and Drawings from the Museum's Collection
Contributions byCormack, Malcolm
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1972
TypeMonographs and Collections