Paintings | 18th Century | Niels Frederik Schiottz-Jensen | Side view of the Forum Romanum from Santa Francesca Romana looking towards the Capitolium | Artwork profile

48 x 74 cm
Oil on canvas


Side view of the Forum Romanum from Santa Francesca Romana looking towards the Capitolium

Niels Frederik Schiottz-Jensen

The subject
The streets and the views of the ancient Roman Forum as well as other important archaeological sites have always deeply fascinated Italian and European painters. In the 19th century, such appeal grew stronger thanks to the continuous archaeological discoveries that since the second half of the 18th century kept bringing to light masterpieces which had been buried for centuries.

The painting
The new important discoveries as were those of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae represented a inescapable lure for the young Europeans who travelled through Europe on the so called “Gran Tour”. During these stays, one could deepen his knowledge of the culture and of the local arts, and those who were into painting might also find new sources of inspiration. Niels Frederik Schiottz-Jensen, a Danish artist who lived across the 19th and 20th century, was amongst these young artists. After an apprenticeship with a merchant, he succeeded in devoting himself to painting with the admission into the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he graduated in 1879. He continued his studies in the Colarossi Academy in Paris, where he distinguished himself because of his skills, also receiving some rewards. His artistic bases lay on the Romantic 19th century culture, and they remained virtually insensible to the call of the new artistic avant-garde which were quickly spreading across Europe in the late 19th century. He was inspired by the landscapes of the French and Italian countryside as well as, like many other Romantic painters, by North African colonies. After having travelled through Tunisia, he arrived in Rome in 1911, a date around which we may place the work here analyzed. In the Papal city, Schiottz-Jensen devoted himself to the making of sheer classical landscapes, soaking in the lesson of the 18th century Roman Vedustism painters; he managed all the same to develop a new language that enhanced the landscape’s realistic aspects in spite of an idealized beauty. The work in the Collection is an example of such a synthesis: the debt with the genre scenes is patent, yet the fluidity of the brush stroke, the use of tiny highlights over figures and buildings and a careful regard for details add more realism to the composition. A realism balanced by decorative elements, such as the ancient ruins and the columns fragments scattered along the road that help in keeping the painting within an aulic dimension, creating a sense of stillness and silence. A quiet that the human figures do not spoil with their presence, as if time had stopped for an instant.