- Museum number
Arch of Septimius Severus, the Capitol and the Temple of Concord; half-buried triumphal arch to right with road running diagonally from right foreground to left distance, columns supporting ruined pediment behind
Pen and grey ink with grey and brown wash
- Production date
Height: 374 millimetres
Width: 645 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The arch of Septimius Severus in the Forum Romanum was built during the period of this Emperor and his sons Geta and Caracalla to celebrate their victory against the Parthians. Piranesi represented the arch in his 'Antichitá Romane' of 1756 and then it was also painted by William Pars (Fitzwilliam Museum: P.D. 62-1958) and Francis Towne (Nn,3.10).
The version by Pars and the one by Smith share elements in common: neither is dated, the viewpoint is the same and as are the shadows, the details of the trees and the rock on the left. The watercolour by Pars is more finished, with people, animals and carriages on the foreground, which as usual is animated by an anthropological interest. Smith painted an unfinished watercolour: everything is modulated on the tones of grey, which are diluted and the foreground is only outlined, with only the volumes of the elements painted in wash, without details, except for the arch itself and the Palace of the Capitolium.
Towne's version of 1781 is slightly different: the format is more horizontal because the artist has joined two sheets of paper, enlarging the view to represent the Column of Foca on the left.
There are some similarities between this version and the engraving by W. Byrne and J. Sparrow for Smith’s 'Select Views in Italy' (plate 28). The engraving does not follow Smith’s watercolour closely, but is closer to the version made by Towne, as was the case for the ‘modern bridge in Narni’ (1871,1111.10). In a page of the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (Tate: D13966), Turner copied the print of the Arch of Septimus Severus from the Smith's 'Select Views in Italy'.
This watercolour is one of a group of 46 watercolours from the collection of the Earl of Warwick; for information on the whole group, see 1936,0704.6
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1991/2 Nov-Feb, Munich, Neue Pinakothek, 'von Dillis', no. A16
1992 Mar-May, Dresden, Galerie Neue Meister, 'von Dillis', no. A16
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Select Views in Italy (1792-99)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Warwick sale.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number