About this artwork

Roberts' vast panorama portrays a rose-tinted city of Rome, viewed from the elevated terrace of the Sant'Onofrio convent on Janiculum. The picture was based on numerous sketches made in pencil and watercolour during Roberts' visit to Rome in 1853-4. The canvas, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1855, was hailed by Prince Albert as 'the most magnificent work of art of modern times'. Ruskin's criticism, however, prompted Roberts to rework its colouring. In 1857 Roberts presented the painting to the Royal Scottish Academy for inclusion in the future national collection. A year later Edinburgh awarded him the freedom of the city.

  • title: Rome: Sunset from the Convent of Sant' Onofrio on the Janiculum
  • accession number: NG 304
  • artist: David RobertsScottish (1796 - 1864)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Cities
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1856
  • measurements: 213.00 x 427.00 cm (framed: 263.80 x 478.30 x 15.50 cm)
  • credit line: Presented by the artist to the Royal Scottish Academy 1857; transferred and presented to the National Gallery of Scotland 1910
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

David Roberts

David Roberts

Roberts' international renown as a landscape painter developed from the lithographs published after his watercolours, inspired by his travels in Europe and the Middle East. He appears in eastern dress in Robert Scott Lauder's splendid portrait of him in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Roberts was apprenticed to an Edinburgh house painter and worked on theatrical sets before establishing himself as a landscape artist. Inspired by Turner, he made regular expeditions abroad. His carefully composed, atmospheric paintings convey both the excitement of experiencing picturesque and exotic sites with fascinating details. Roberts' appointment as a Commissioner for the Great Exhibition of 1851, under the patronage of Prince Albert, confirmed his status.