Very beautiful oil on canvas representing the important waterfalls of the Marmores near Terni.
The scene is sketched on the spot, in the rising sun, while the spectrum of the first rays of the sun decompose in the drops of water in suspension and offers us a subtle gradient of colors, with tones passing from pink to purple, which contrast with the icy blue of a slightly cloudy sky.
After the magic that plays out in the skies, a noisier scene brings us back to reality, with the din of the tumultuous waves which crash from the cliff and give way to impetuous torrents of foam.
Finally, an oblique ray crosses the trees with its soft light to indicate the last scene which takes us to a mound bathed in light where we can make out a hunter accompanied by his dog.
After the peacefulness of a mystical-looking sky and the noisy violence of the waves, our painter confronts us with the immensity of nature, placing this tiny human, who like a detail, seems drowned in a gigantic landscape.
Our work, which can be read vertically, in three registers Sky-Earth and Man, is a true ode to nature, but it is also much more than that, it questions us about our human condition and the existence of god.
Despite an atrophied hand, Verstappen delivers here a very technical work, tackling not only the mist that rises from the falls but also the decomposition of light, demonstrating all his dexterity and his peerless talent as a colourist.
The great art historian Charles-Paul Landon (1761-1826) praised his landscapes for the finesse and the infinite variety of colors used.
Good condition, small retouching in the sky.
Period frame in gilded wood with a leaf frieze of stripes of hearts.
Frame: Height: 105, Width: 81.5 cm
Canvas: Height: 95 cm, Width: 71 cm
. Cascace des Marmores at Terni, Sotheby's London Sale April 27, 2016, Lot 775 (estimate 12/18,000 GPB, result 16,250 GPB)
• One of his paintings was in the collection of paintings of the Empress Joséphine hanging at the Château de Malmaison.
• Moonlight on Lake Albano is visible at the Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology in Besançon.
• A View taken in the forest of Papigno, near Terni is in the collections of the Musée Fabre in Montpellier.
• The house of the Borgias (1837) is the property of the Museum of the City of Rome.
• A chapel on the road between Albano and Ariccia is on display at the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.
* The Marmore waterfall, in Italian Cascata delle Marmore, is a three-level waterfall located in the frazione Marmore, near Terni where the Velino river flows into the Nera.
It is an artificial waterfall that was created by the ancient Romans and whose calcium salts give the rocks the appearance of marble.
It is located 7.7 km from Terni, the provincial capital of the Umbria region. Its total height is 165m making it the highest waterfall in Italy and the highest man-made waterfall in the world. Of its 3 sections, the tallest, which measures 83 m, is the tallest.
Martin Verstappen, born August 7, 1773 in Antwerp (Belgium) and died January 7, 1852 in Rome (Italy), was a Belgian landscape painter established in Rome.
After learning his art at the painting academy in his native city from Petrus van Regemorter, he traveled to Italy and settled permanently in Rome from 1804-1805. Born crippled with an atrophied right hand, he painted with his left hand and, despite his handicap, succeeded in becoming a highly esteemed artist of his time.
Faithful to an exclusively landscape inspiration, he works based on outdoor studies. Surrounded by Italian light, his classically-crafted canvases were appreciated for their good sense of harmony and color and their taste for aerial perspective. He signed his works in the Latinized VerSTapiun form.
Admitted to the prestigious Academy of Saint-Luke in 1814 and an associate member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Verstappen leads a life of artistic hermit in the Eternal City. However, he agrees to take as a student the young Massimo d'Azeglio, who devotes a few colorful paragraphs to him in his memories.
Martin Verstapen contributed to some major European artistic events by sending some of his paintings.
He thus presented at the Salon de peinture de Paris in 1810 a View of Subiaco from the Ponte Nomentano which was awarded a gold medal. He then exhibited at the Salon of 1812 “two remarkable landscapes, one and the other according to the judgment of the art critic Charles Paul Landon: it is an Exterior View of the Convent of St-François at l'Arriccia ( which then joined the collection of the Count of Pourtalès dispersed in 1