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Giuseppe Zais, Landscape with a Ruined Tower

Key facts
Full title Landscape with a Ruined Tower
Artist Giuseppe Zais
Artist dates 1709 - 1784
Date made probably 1760-80
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 70.2 × 95.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by the Misses Cohen as part of the John Samuel Collection, 1906
Inventory number NG2086
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Landscape with a Ruined Tower
Giuseppe Zais

Figures placed carefully across the landscape lead us through the painting, from the peasants resting by a path to the rider and his white horse, and on to those walking towards a ruined arch and tower. To the right, a cow herder and his animals rest by the river while two women on the far bank wash clothes. Thick, expressive brushstrokes describe the people and animals; highlighted by the sunlight, they stand out against areas of shade.

This picture was once thought to be by Francesco Zuccarelli, whose work Zais clearly studied. Zais spent most of his career in Venice and painted scenes inspired by the Italian countryside; his Landscape with a Group of Figures and Landscape with a Group of Figures Fishing are also in the National Gallery’s collection.

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