Charles-Louis Clérisseau (1721-1820).
Views of Tivoli.
Pair of gouaches paintings on paper.
Signed and dated Clérisseau 1790 on the lower right.

Length 49 cm  Width 40 cm

Student of Germain Boffrand, Charles-Louis Clérisseau is a French architect and painter who was first recognized for his work on architecture with the Prix de Rome in 1746. He lived in Rome from 1749 to 1754, where he befriended Piranesi. He met Robert Adam, who appreciated his numerous representations of ancient monuments inspired by the Italian master Panini. He accompanied the latter during his Grand Tour from 1755 to 1757 and made many sketches and drawings during their journey around Italy. The two artists were founders of the architectural movement that became neoclassicism.

The artist was very successful from the 1770s with numerous commissions in France and abroad.

He executed in 1775 the first antique decor in Paris, inspired by the discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It was created for Laurent Grimod de La Reynière's mansion, located at the corner of rue Boissy-d'Anglas and avenue Gabriel.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson, then U.S. ambassador in France, asked him for drawings inspired by Antiquity for the Capitol of Virginia.

He was named appointed architect of the Imperial Court of Russia under Catherine II, and was also a member of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.

Charles-Louis Clérisseau is one of the artists who started the fashion of ancient architecture at the end of the 18th century.

Our two gouaches are typical of the artist's production, the surroundings of Rome, especially the city of Tivoli, were prized for their ancient ruins mixed with lush nature. One of our paintings depicts the Rocco bridge of Tivoli, and the other, a natural stone bridge in the surrounding countryside.

Gouaches and drawings by Clérisseau can be found in the Louvre, in the museums of Orléans and Rouen; they are numerous in St. Petersburg (Hermitage; more than 1,100 drawings acquired by Catherine II, a selection of which was exhibited in the Louvre in 1995) and in England: in London (British Museum, Soane Museum, V. A. M.) as well as in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

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