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Thomas de Thomon

(1754 Nancy – 1813 St. Petersburg)

A Picturesque Landscape with a View of an Ancient Town. Etching.                  22.1 x 26 cm. 1796. Probably Nagler 6.

The architect and draughtsman, Thomas de Thomon, who was trained in Paris by Ledoux, continued his studies in Rome in 1785/86. From 1798 he was active in Russia, where he was appointed court architect to Tsar Alexander I, in which capacity he exerted a formative influence on the development of Russian architecture. Numerous representative buildings in St. Petersburg, which were built in an austere neoclassical style, determined the aesthetic appearance of the city on the River Neva and they serve as testimony to the architect’s great artistic prestige and creative potential. Among his most famous structures are the stock exchange building on Vasilyevsky Island begun by Quarenghi and completed by Thomon between 1805 and 1816. The two Rostral Columns based on his designs which flank the monumental temple building erected in a purist Doric style are among St. Petersburg’s architectural landmarks.

Thomon was a talented draughtsman and aquarellist who also produced a small printed oeuvre comprising some six etchings. The present, elegantly executed etching could be identical with the Vue d’une partie de Rome ancienne mentioned by Nagler (Nagler 6). Weathered oak trees frame an imaginary ancient city whose buildings are rendered with great meticulousness and a feeling for atmospheric effect. In the foreground a group of staffage figures in ancient attire blend neatly into the evocative landscape scene. The whole radiates a graphic refinement and subtle natural lyricism which make this rare little print a veritable gem. A very fine, harmonious impression with full margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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