- Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803)
- Hand-colored aquatint From Campi Phlegraei: Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies as They Have Been Communicated to the Royal Society of London Naples: sold by Pietro Fabris, 1776-1779
- Curatorial Notes:
- If the beautiful inspires the peace of a nature controlled, the sublime instills the terror of a nature unleashed. This brilliant image of an exploding volcano reminds humanity of its own everlasting fragility. Despite attempts to tame the earth, settle and harvest its lands, we are always at its mercy. The small, dark figure in a boat has escaped the terror today, but once the fire has been put out, what of this Naples town will remain? And how long until the volcano unleashes destruction on the unsuspecting once again?
- David Kelly Crow
What is the Picturesque? 3 items
Notoriously slippery, the picturesque can be hard to define. There are certain features of the genre: paintings will depict a natural scene abundant with variety, detail, and texture. Moreover, the picturesque is about how the art makes the viewer feel. Born from the emerging Romantic sensibilities of the 18th century, philosophers like Edmund Burke proposed that reactions to the aesthetic world were not rational, but instinctual. The middle ground between the pastoral ideals of beauty and the horrors of the sublime, picturesque landscape lifts up and inspires the senses with a feeling of awe, but not terror. It instills serenity but not complacency. It is at once alluring, ideal, and wild.