Arnold Böcklin, Roman Landscape, 1852
From the Brooklyn Museum of Art:
Arnold Böcklin was one of many artists lured to Italy to sketch and paint the light-bathed countryside in and around Rome. Unlike Hubert Robert and Pierre Thuillier (whose works are also shown here), who found inspiration in timeworn monuments, the Swiss painter did not seek out famous landmarks but preferred rustic sites seemingly untouched by man. Although Böcklin includes the figure of a bather disrobing in the middle ground, her tiny form primarily underscores the vastness of nature, seen in the massive, ancient trees heavy with moss and the churning, cloud-filled sky. Whereas early studies for this work include additional figures—another bather and a satyr—in the final painting Böcklin almost completely removes narrative elements to concentrate his attentions on the patterns of light and shade as well as details of foliage and rock formations.