(b. 1720, Venezia, d. 1780, Warszawa)
Capriccio with the Colosseum1743-44
Oil on canvas
Galleria Nazionale, Parma
The painting is part of a cycle of four canvases which are similar in shape and subject matter. The young Bellotto painted them during a seminal visit to Rome. Gradually, he was to move away from the faithful view of glimpses of Roman monuments. Instead he favoured the freer capriccio or imaginary view. This still included real buildings (which were truthfully reproduced) but they were set in an eclectic combination of invented architecture which in turn was given an evocative setting. Such capricci were very popular at the time.