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Originally from Aix-en-Provence, François-Marius Granet studied with both Jean-Antoine Constantin and Jacques-Louis David. In 1802 he travelled to Rome with Comte Auguste de Forbin (1777 -1841) (later curator of the Louvre) for a brief visit; he returned soon after for a stay of 21 years, only returning to France in 1824. While in Rome he was taught by Simon Denis. Granet was particularly drawn to the textures, colours and forms of the city’s architecture, and indeed earned money selling drawings of ancient monuments.
Here he has depicted a tightly packed cluster of houses, roofs and arches. Using dilute paint with a degree of transparency, he has created a homogenous surface of warm browns and greys, punctuated with darker windows and doors. The expressive brushstrokes in the thin paint lend a sense of wear and decay to the buildings. By contrast, the luminous sky is painted smoothly.
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