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Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Rome at Sunrise, from the Janiculum

Key facts
Full title Rome at Sunrise, from the Janiculum
Artist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes
Artist dates 1750 - 1819
Date made about 1782-4
Medium and support Oil on paper laid on board
Dimensions 23.3 × 42.4 cm
Acquisition credit The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery
Inventory number L871
Location Room 42
Image copyright The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission
Collection Main Collection
Rome at Sunrise, from the Janiculum
Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes

This scene is painted looking eastwards from a point at the southern end of the Janiculum hill in Rome. The buildings of 18th-century Rome take up the bottom third of the painting, while the upper two-thirds are given over to a scudding dance of black, grey and white clouds at dawn. The clouds seem to be moving particularly swiftly, and it is possible that the painting was not made out of doors but was based on a rapid pencil sketch with colour annotations, of a kind that Valenciennes is known to have made and used.

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