10184 Giovanni Volpato (1733-1803) and Abraham-Louis Ducros (1748-1810)
Complete set of 14 Views of Museo Pio Clementino, Rome.
Sepia and grey wash over etched outlines. Later framed and mounted. Four views smaller.
Width: 29 ins (75 cms) Frame: 38.25 ins (97 cms)
Height: 21 ins (53 cms) Frame: 30 ins (76 cms)
Volpato and Ducros initially worked together in 1780 to produce a series of 24 View of Rome. Ducros was a notable Swiss water colour artist, very familiar with the tastes of European tourists and the demand for souvenir views. Volpato was a talented printmaker and perhaps more importantly, an entrepreneur who could see the possibilities of supplying the Grand Tourists with large scale images of their travels to take home and entertain their friends and connoisseurs.
It is believed that the original designs were drawn by Ducros and then passed to Volpato’s studio where the etched plates were worked up. The large scale prints were then returned to Ducros who would have applied the watercolour to create the finished works. Volpato’s original 14 copper plates are preserved in the Calcografia Nazionale, Rome.
Our views of the newly finished galleries with the combined collections of Pope Pius VI and Pope Clement XIV, the Pio Clementino Museum, show the interiors of the 12 galleries highlighting the numerous masterpieces as well as the crossing hallways and entrances. This new layout was initiated in 1790 and these hand coloured etchings would have been the first available visual record of the museum, which has remained largely unchanged.
It is not known how many folios or albums of this set were produced. Due to the large size of the plates and the complexity of the colouring process they would certainly have been costly. Two complete sets in fine condition are known in the state museums of Berlin and Munich but generally the sets have been broken up and dispersed.
Ten of the views are in landscape format, showing the gallery views and four of the views are in portrait format and show the hallways and connecting galleries.