This work and its pair in the Colección Santander have traditionally been catalogued as by an anonymous artist of the late 17th century. In a recent oral communication, however, Nicola Spinosa suggested an attribution to Coccorante.
Despite the fact that De Dominici included Coccorante’s biography in his text of 1744 and that some further information has subsequently come to light, little is known of the artist’s life and work. It would seem that he trained with Angelo Maria Costa and possibly with Gabriele Ricciardelli although there is little similarity between his style and theirs. Some signed works by Coccorante are known while others have been attributed on the basis of shared characteristics. Only two dated works are known, from 1739, while a pair of overdoors depicting the marriage of Charles of Bourbon and Maria Amalia of Saxony can be dated to 1738. As a result, very little is known of Coccorante’s style for most of his career.
Like its pair, the large size of this canvas is not typical of Coccorante’s output, nor is the absence of ruins (although in this case the buildings are invented and not real) or the absence of human figures. Less surprising, however, is the fact that the two canvases use the same perspectival viewpoint as this practice is to be found in other pairs of paintings by Coccorante and undoubtedly relates to their intended location. The fact that the view seems to be depicted at sunset creates the marked contrasts of light and shade. The blue sky and green trees contrast with the ochre and grey tones of the architectural elements. At the centre of the lower edge is an inventory number, “607”, from an as yet unidentified collection.