Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli - A View of St. Peter
A View of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Click on the main picture to view details

Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli (Amersfoort 1652/3 - Rome 1736)

Vanvitelli was a Dutch painter and draughtsman.

He trained in the workshop of Matthias Withoos (1627-1703) in Amersfoort before venturing to Rome, where his presence was first recorded in 1675. In Amersfoot he likely was exposed to Dutch landscape artists such as Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712) and Gerrit Berckheyde (1638-1698).

Apart from visits to Lombardy and Naples, he spent the remainder of his life in Rome, devoting himself to topographical views of the city, showing it not only as the site of ancient ruins but also of modern creations such as St. Peter’s Basilica. In the rare instances where he painted more conventional images of Roman ruins, he did so from different and novel viewpoints.

Vanvitelli’s style was well-established by the 1690s, and his principles in composition and perspective remained constant throughout the rest of his career, with only the subject matter changing. He was careful to represent his architectural subjects accurately, from a point of view that corresponded with that of the spectator. In his studio Vanvitelli often produced multiple versions of a single view based on drawings that he had executed on site.

Vanvitelli’s son Luigi would become a famous architect, and also carried the Italianized family name of “Vanvitelli”.