David Roberts

A Study for 'Rome: Sunset from the Convent of Sant' Onofrio on the Janiculum' (NG 304) (About 1856)

About this artwork

This is a compositional study for the panoramic view of Rome which was painted in 1856 and is also in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery (NG 304). The striking light effects with the contrast between warm rose and deep grey shadow was painted by the artist on the spot. The city is viewed from the elevated terrace of the Sant'Onofrio convent on the Janiculum. The large finished painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1855, and was hailed by Prince Albert as 'the most magnificent work of art of modern times'.

  • title: A Study for 'Rome: Sunset from the Convent of Sant' Onofrio on the Janiculum' (NG 304)
  • accession number: NG 2261
  • artist: David RobertsScottish (1796 - 1864)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: About 1856
  • measurements: 21.60 x 41.00 cm
  • credit line: Purchased 1963
  • 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.