SALUCCI, Alessandro
(b. 1590, Firenze, d. 1655/60, Roma)

Harbour View with Triumphal Arch

c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 81 x 126 cm
Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, The Hague

A monumental triumphal arch, not unlike that of Constantine, dominates the middle ground of this harbour view. To the right stands a tall, somewhat dilapidated building with classical ornaments. The foreground is crowded with figures. On the left is a panorama of the harbour with a tower in the distance. The strong light coming from that direction creates sharp contrasts: the dark mass of the arch stands out against the evening sky, while the play of light and shade enlivens the façade of the structure on the right.

The painting is a classic example of the imaginary views of southern harbours which became popular in the seventeenth century. The Florentine Alessandro Salucci was one of the first artists to specialize in this genre, together with his "Italianate" colleagues from Holland such as Jan Baptist Weenix, Jan Lingelbach and Claes Berchem. The Frenchman Claude Lorrain, whose influence on Salucci is obvious, also experimented with the genre a number of times. Works such as this were important to Luca Carlevaris, who began his artistic career by painting harbour scenes. Salucci's rhythmically composed harbour views may have inspired Canaletto's early pictures of ruins as well.

It is generally agreed that the figures in the painting are by the hand of Jan Miel, a Dutch artist with whom Salucci often collaborated.

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