Paintings | 17th Century | Jacopo Fabris | A view of Villa Aldobrandini and the church of Ss. Dominique and Sisto , in Rome | Artwork profile

68,5 x 121 cm
Oil on canvas


A view of Villa Aldobrandini and the church of Ss. Dominique and Sisto , in Rome

Jacopo Fabris

The subject
The view of this particular sight of Rome has a peculiar attribute among the other paintings: it’s rare. In fact, only few views of this landscape are known, even among the engravings, which depicts the Magnanapoli square, with the walls and the gate of Villa Aldobrandini on the left and the front of the church of Saints Dominique and Sisto, also known as church of New Saint Sisto. The two blocks are divided on the middle by a street which is known today as Via Panisperna. However this view has been painted without realistic relevancies, with a free reconstruction of the places and the monuments.

The painting
This view of Rome has been attributed to the venetian painter Jacopo Fabris by Giancarlo Sestieri (written communication, 31st January 2011) Born in the Serenissima Republic from a family with German origins, Fabris was mainly known for his stage and set designer job, working principally for German and Danish noble courts. The early lack of information about his career led the scholars to include his paintings under the acronym SCOF or rather “Seguace Canaletto Ombre Forti” (Follower of Canaletto Strong Shadows) because of the evident referent to the great venetian master, which were present on his views, particularly on those with a venetian subject. The following discovery of few signed paintings was fundamental to focalize this artist, to develop a deeper study about him and to increase the catalogue of his works, which mainly included real or idealized views, of Rome and Venice. The figures painted by this artist are quite peculiar, quickly defined and characterized by a long projection of their shadow on the soil. Monument and building’s composition shows a stenographic distribution and layout. Few perspective inconsistencies with the real roman sight represented, lead to consider the hypothesis the artist hasn’t executed this work from real but probably basing on drawings and etchings, or he simply painted it “on memory” using personal impressions and memories. In fact the presence of Jacopo Fabris in Rome, during his youth is documented to develop his care, leaving the city certainly before 1719. On that year, when 30, he was nominated court painter in Karlsruhe, for the Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach, where he received the duties of creating new theatrical machines and look after the artistic decorations. Afterwards he moved to Hamburg where he worked for the earl of Ahlefeldt who entrusted him to the management of the city Opera Theatre. In the middle of the 1700, Fabris lived for a short and unfruitful period in London; then he returned in Germany, in Berlin where he started to work directly under Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. After few years spent in that court, characterized by great successes, Fabris decided to move to Denmark, where he worked on the set design for the court theater of the King Frederick V, until his death on 1761.