Jean Joseph Xavier Bidauld was a member of the early generation of neo-classical landscapists. He was taught by Claude-Joseph Vernet, who had introduced oil sketching to the influential artist and teacher Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes. Bidauld was in Italy from 1785 to 1790, where he produced studies which are characteristically detailed and highly finished. This view, probably completed in the studio, is no exception.
Tivoli, lying to the north-east of Rome and famous for its waterfalls, was a favourite destination for painters. In Bidauld’s study the whole of the left side is in deep shadow, the soft brushstrokes in dark greens, conveying a sense of damp mossy vegetation. On the right, in full sun, the foliage is meticulously delineated and the fall of sunlight on the leaves at the right and at the top is captured in minute touches of paint. The thunderous descent of the water is conveyed with fluid strokes of white.
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