Paintings | 17th Century | Paolo Anesi | The Temple of Minerva Medica | Artwork profile

45 x 34 cm
Oil on canvas



The Temple of Minerva Medica

Paolo Anesi

The subject

The monument depicted in the foreground is the so-called Temple of Minerva Medica, located on the Esquiline Hill. In reality this building was originally designed as the Nymphaeum of the Horti Liciniani, the large residence of the Emperor Licinius Gallienus, made famous by its marvellous gardens, and the Temple has remained the sole evidence of its original grandeur.

The Temple of Minerva Medica was given its current name following the discovery, during excavations completed over the course of centuries, of a statue depicting Minerva with a serpent which was a symbol of Medicine.

The painting

Paolo Anesi was one of the great interpreters of the 18th century landscape painting style that took hold in Rome, and was directly inspired by the great masters of the 17th century such as Lorrain and Poussin who elevated landscape painting to extremely high levels of quality and poetic expression. In Anesi’s artistic work the view is perfectly blended with ancient architecture, bringing harmonious compositions to life that convey the idea of an idyllic, timeless place.

For stylistic reasons, this canvas probably belongs to Anesi’s late period, given the slightly elongated figures and extremely fluid use of colour, as suggested by Franco Toscano (written communication, May 2002)