LUIGI BAZZANI (Bologna 1836-1927 Rome)
View of the Large Theater in Pompei
signed and dated POMPEI AN. 1910/ Luigi Bazzani’
graphite and watercolor
1378 x 18 in. (33.4 x 46.2 cm)
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Lot Essay

Bazzani was a painter, illustrator, and watercolorist from Bologna. Inspired by the excavations of the Roman site of Pompei, he spent forty years of his life documenting the remains of the ancient city that, which, while discovered in 1748, were still being brought to light at the end of the 19th century. Bazzani produced numerous of drawings of the buildings and streets of Pompei, including watercolor views and more technical architectural studies (Davvero! La Pompei di fine 800 nella Pittura di Luigi Bazzani, exhib. cat., Bologna, Fondazione del Monte, and Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, 2013-2014). The artist’s masterful technique enabled him to replicate surfaces, materials, and decorations with many details and astonishing precision. Bazzani’s attention to detail was prized by the archeologists working in Pompei at the time. Given their almost photographic qualities, the watercolors are still today a most valuable source of information for scholars, particularly since many of the sites depicted by Bazzani, especially the interiors of some of the houses, are today irreparably lost. The artist continued to travel to Pompei until late in his life in the first decades of the 20th century; these two watercolors were made when Bazzani was in his mid-seventies.
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