loading page

Loading the page ...

Victor Jean Nicolle

(1754–1826, Paris)

Passageway in a Renaissance Palace. Pen and brown and grey ink and watercolour. 19.8 x 14 cm.

Victor Jean Nicolle, an architectural painter, draughtsman and etcher from Paris, began his training at the Ecole Royale Gratuite de Dessin. He continued his studies in the studio of Louis Charles François Petit-Radel and was awarded the Grand Prix in Perspective in 1771. The artist travelled to Italy several times, also at the behest of Louis XVI, in order to paint vedute and monuments in Rome and other parts of the country.

Nicolle was an extremely versatile artist, whose skill in perspective drawing is apparent in the numerous views of buildings and ruins he produced. In addition to hastily made charcoal and ink drawings, he created extremely meticulous and detailed pen-and-ink and painted vedute in his studio. These often constitute valuable documentation of buildings that no longer exist.

The latter include the present view of the staircase and passageway in what is probably a Renaissance palace in Rome. Here Nicolle uses exquisite penwork and very delicate strokes of the brush to capture in soft shades of red, blue and yellow ornaments, the tritons and other hybrid creatures that make up the grotesque ornamentation of the vault. The arch at the end of the passageway affords a view of the courtyard, where a fountain basin with a sculpture of a river god can be seen beneath an overgrown pergola. At the bottom left, a date in Roman figures, probably 1578, can be read on a stone in the ground, presumably indicating the year in which the building was erected. While the sheet has all the attention to detail of a documentary architectural drawing, the scene appears anything but static; the sunlight streaming in around midday and the staffage figures playing with the cat introduce a sense of the momentary and ephemeral.

6.500 €

Contact us for further information