Paintings | 17th Century | Leonardo Coccorante | Capriccio with ancient ruins and figures, dawn (I) | Artwork profile

118 x 90,5 cm
Oil on canvas


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Capriccio with ancient ruins and figures, dawn (I)

Leonardo Coccorante

The subject

This type of view, which does not represent a precise geographic location and includes ancient architectural structures often accompanied by common figures, is defined by the term Capriccio. These compositions originated in the imagination of the artist, who delighted in freely combining ancient grandiose monuments from diverse locations in the same space with the goal of creating idyllic and majestic landscapes. These frivolous and light-hearted paintings served the sole purpose of stimulating the imagination of the observer with no specific intellectual purpose.

Capriccio painting is closely related to the theatre: these compositions began as pictorial representations of theatre set designs, which were nearly always designed by famous painters who loved to transfer their best creations to the canvas.


The painting

Leonardo Coccorante was a great interpreter of these idealized landscapes. Originally from Naples, he was active in the first half of the 18th century.

Coccorante is well known for his large, highly-detailed landscapes dominated by classical architecture or ancient ruins that contrast with the tiny human figures in the foreground, emphasizing the majesty of the surrounding ruins. This genre brought the artist enormous, well deserved fame especially in his native country.

The initials “LC” on one of the works of this collection is proof that these pieces were created by the Neapolitan master, as asserted by Ferdinando Bologna (written communication on 23 November 1983) who studied two of the pieces of this series.

In his analysis, Ferdinando Bologna identified the strong stylistic resemblance of these paintings with the work Ruins with war scenes, preserved today in an important Neapolitan collection. He highlighted the similarity between the execution of the pieces presented here and the Neapolitan master’s period of advanced artistic maturity during which he displayed a joyous recollection of the luminous poignancy of Viviano Codazzi and a particular style that already resembled the Pre-Romantic era.