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View from the French Academy at the Villa Medici
Salted paper print, from paper negative
20 x 27.2 cm (7 7/8 x 10 11/16 ins, image), 31 x 46.2 cm (12 3/16 x 18 3/16 ins, mount)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005, Accession Number: 2005.100.855
Trained at the Venetian Academy as a vedutista, a painter of perspectival city views, Caneva moved to Rome in 1838 and quickly distinguished himself amid an international group of artists who gathered at the famed Caffè Greco. As early as 1845, he appears on the café’s ledger as “Painter-Photographer,” having adopted the daguerreotype before mastering paper negatives. Caneva’s views of Roman monuments and figure studies of Italian peasants catered to the tastes of the artistic community that flourished in the neighborhood around the French Academy at the Villa Medici atop the Pincian hill. This view is from the villa’s fountain—which remains a popular spot for both artists and travelers ambling on an afternoon passeggiata—toward Michelangelo’s dome of Saint Peter’s.