"Porticos and ancient ruins with figures on a landscape background"
Italian school, second half of the 17th century.
Oil on canvas. 61 cm x 75.5 cm
Stucco frame, gilded with gold, XIXth century.
This Italian painting, representing an architectural ensemble, is perfectly constructed and elaborate.
Symmetry and perspective are particularly neat and very well done. The play of shadows and lights gives this painting all its precision and meticulousness.
Our eye is first drawn to the sky which is the vanishing point of this painting. Then we look at the architecture.
Two types of capitals are present:
Doric capitals: The Doric style is the oldest and most sober, with a very simple capital and fairly thick columns. - Corinthian capitals: The Corinthian style is the most ornate and the most recent. The marquee decorated with plant motifs evokes the shape of acanthus leaves (Mediterranean plant with very cut leaves).
These styles of capitals are part of the three architectural orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.
The pediments, stairs, arches are classic architectural elements that are widely used in French and Italian architecture.
Note also the references of the architect Sebastanio Serlio. His treatise on architecture in 8 volumes, written in the perspective of serving as an illustrated manual for architects. He had a lot of influence in France, Holland and England where he was considered a great model of Italian Renaissance architecture.
We can notice that the characters are playing the game of palm.
The game of palm is a sport, practiced since antiquity. Initially played with bare hand or gloved leather, it later became a racket sport. He is the direct ancestor of Basque pelota, Valencian pelota, pelota ball, tambourine ball game, tennis and more generally all racket sports. A palm player is a father or a drummer. In the games of palm, one finds two disciplines: the short palm (in English Real tennis or short tennis in the United States) which is played in room with a gallery and the long palm which is played outside.
The long palm is a winning game that is a form of tennis game. This game of French origin is very practiced from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century in France, but also in the rest of Europe. The long palm gives birth to such sports as the tambourine ball, the fistball and the ball in the hand. This game is classified in the Inventory of French Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012.