(Lyon, 1812 - Lyon, 1885)
Lake Albano, Castel Gandolfo and the Roman countryside
Oil on canvas mounted on cardboard
H. 38 cm ; L. 55 cm
Signed lower left
Ponthus-Cinier belongs to what could be defined as the third (and so to speak last) generation of neo-classical or historical landscape painters, born in the 1810s and 1820s, such as Félix Lanoüe, Achille Bénouville, Paul Flandrin, Eugène Ferdinand Buttura and Alfred de Curzon. More particularly, he is considered the main and most popular representative of the landscape painters of the Lyon school around the middle of the 19th century.
Of a generous, honest and pleasant personality, Ponthus-Cinier came from a family of merchants on his mother's side and magistrates on his father's side; destined for commerce by his parents, he preferred the artistic path, and after enrolling at the Lyon School of Fine Arts in 1829, and training in Paris with Paul Delaroche, he exhibited his first works at the Lyon Salon of 1839, before participating in the Paris Salon in 1841.
That same year, he was awarded the second Prix de Rome for historical landscape (won by Buttura in 1837, and Bénouville in 1845), beaten by the Versailles-based Lanoüe. In order to improve his skills, Ponthus-Cinier decided to go to Italy, alone and at his own expense, for a single stay between 1842 and 1844; he discovered the Ligurian coast, Tuscany, Naples, and of course Rome and its surroundings, and executed a considerable number of studies (painted sketches or pen-and-ink sketches) which he used to compose views of Italy throughout his career.
Ponthus-Cinier's main qualities probably lie in "the art of illuminating a canvas" as A. Jouve in the nineteenth century, and in his sense of perspective, sometimes truly extraordinary; he seems on the other hand, most of the time, a little less brilliant in the figures and in the transcription of details.
Lake Albano, located to the southeast of Rome, was one of the favorite places to visit for Rome-based artists, along with Castel Gandolfo, perched on the heights, of which the artist provides us with a relatively schematic view.
The view in our painting is probably taken from the belvedere on the northern shore of the lake, at the foot of the foothills of Monte Cavo.
Ponthus-Cinier gives us here a brilliant proof of his sense of light and perspective.
3 400 €