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|Author: Jean-Pierre-Laurent Houel|
|Landscape, Drawings, Gouache and watercolour over traces of a sketch in black chalk, 27.5x41.5 cm|
|Origin: France, Between 1776 and 1779|
Houel is best known as the author of preparatory sketches and engravings with an explanatory text to the multi-volume publication A Picturesque Voyage Through the Isles of Sicily, Malta and Lipari, Which deals with the Antiquities to still be found there, the principal phenomena offered by Nature, the Costume of the Inhabitants, and some customs? . The Hermitage possesses 264 of over 500 sketches Houel produced during his tour of Southern Italy between 1769 and 1772.
Here Houel depicted baths located by a hot spring. The baths consisted of two rooms, the rectangular dating from the Roman era, and the round one from a later date. Such baths were open free of charge to citizens and served medicinal purposes. The figures in the foreground were intended to give the composition a sense of life and to reinforce the documentary precision of the motif.
|Source of entry: acquired for Catherine II from the artist, 1782/1783|
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