Staircase in the Villa of Maecenas, Tivoli

about 1826, Attributed to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission

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The Villa Maecenas at Tivoli outside Rome was actually the foundations of an ancient temple complex, and was named after the famous patron of the poets Horace and Virgil. This painting is a masterful depiction of successive architectural spaces: first the area to the front of the entrance, then the vault of the staircase itself, and finally the passageway at the top, brilliantly lit by five windows which are echoed by the five slats in the door to the left. In addition to Corot's signature, a more recent hand has added 'Granet'.

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