Masterworks by Panini and Vernet which shed light on Rome’s extraordinary effervescence of the 1750’s are among the lots on offer at Sotheby’s Old Masters evening sale in London on July 6. With its glorious monuments from Antiquity, masterpieces of the Renaissance and the Baroque, and a rarefied and international contemporary art scene, artists travelled from far and wide to be stimulated by this magnetic cauldron of art. The most successful of them were commissioned to record the favourite places of grand tourists and other foreign visitors. Such was the case for Claude Joseph Vernet who arrived in Rome in 1734 and who, with the leading local Roman painter of the time Giovanni Paolo Panini, would harness the city’s past and present, and together propel the art of landscape painting into a new era.
Panini’s magnificent view of Rome from 1751 shows the artist at the height of his powers (estimate £1-1.5 million) and Vernet’s impressive Mediterranean views – Le Soir and Clair de lune – were painted in 1752, (estimate £3-5 million). UPDATE: THE VERNET’S WERE UNSOLD