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Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, 'Cow-Shed and Houses on the Palatine Hill', about 1782-4

Key facts
Full title Cow-Shed and Houses on the Palatine Hill
Artist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes
Artist dates 1750 - 1819
Date made about 1782-4
Medium and support Oil on paper laid on canvas
Dimensions 23.1 × 37.8 cm
Acquisition credit The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery
Inventory number L870
Location On loan: Gere Collection Paintings to the Ashmolean (2024 - 2026), The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, UK
Image copyright The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission
Collection Main Collection
Cow-Shed and Houses on the Palatine Hill
Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes

The houses and the long, open cow-shed stand in front of a grander, ancient Roman arcade erected in the second century by Septimius Severus. Brilliant sunlight falls from upper right onto the façade of the house, and dapples the roof of the shed. Valenciennes captures the complicated play of bands of lighter and darker shadows under the eaves of the shed and on the ground in the forecourt. He made a similar pen-and-wash drawing of the same scene inscribed 'à la villa neron' (at Nero's villa) in one of his sketchbooks, now in the Louvre, Paris.

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