The Marina Piccola, Capri

Albert Bierstadt1859

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Albert Bierstadt was one of a number of nineteenth-century American artists who traveled to Italy and were inspired by the beauty of its countryside. In May of 1857, he joined fellow painter Sanford Robinson Gifford (American, 1823–1880) on a journey to Italy’s southern region. Traveling primarily on foot, they often stopped to make open-air sketches. The Marina Piccola, Capri is based on preparatory drawings Bierstadt made of the smaller of Capri’s two bays; however, he did not complete the painting until after having returned to the United States in spring of 1859. This image comprises multiple focal points, including a carefully detailed genre scene in the foreground and distant, mist-enshrouded rocks at the center right of the composition. Along the mountains to the left, color and an atmospheric light recede into space, whereas the transition between the water and the sky appears more abrupt. It is a lone sailboat that seems to hover on the horizon, however, that prevails as the central focus of this romantic landscape. In 1863, when Bierstadt presented The Marina Piccola, Capri to the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (the parent organization of the Albright-Knox), it became both the first painting and work gifted by an artist to enter the museum’s collection. At the time of his magnanimous gesture, Bierstadt wrote, "May I ask you to accept whatever is good in it, as a sincere expression of my best wishes for the true and abundant success of the Academy, and a small payment on account of the large debt which every artist owes to his profession."

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  • Title: The Marina Piccola, Capri
  • Creator: Albert Bierstadt
  • Date Created: 1859
  • Physical Dimensions: support: 42 x 72 inches (106.68 x 182.88 cm); framed: 55 1/2 x 85 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches (140.97 x 217.17 x 13.335 cm)
  • Contributor: Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Albert Bierstadt, 1863 (1863:1)
  • Rights: The copyright status of this artwork is believed to be held in public domain. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is mindful of its responsibilities concerning the intellectual property rights of others, and works to protect images of artworks that are believed to be under copyright or to have other restrictions imposed by contract or policy. While the museum makes every effort to accurately determine the rights status of artworks and images of those artworks, the information provided may not be up to date. Any statement on the public domain status of a work is made by the museum in good faith. If you have any information on the rights status of a work contrary to or in addition to the information listed here, or if you are the copyright owner and believe the AK has not properly attributed your work or has used it without your authorization, please contact the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at digitalassets@albrightknox.org.
  • External Link: More information about the artwork is available here.
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Image Information: Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
  • Artist's Nationality: American, born Germany
  • Artist's Death Year: 1902
  • Artist's Birth Year: 1830