Eckersberg spent the years 1813-1816 in Rome, where he painted a number of architecture studies, in which he, as he himself explained, prioritised precision, colour, forms and lines. Here, Eckersberg has painted a small, antique circular temple at the Tiber River. The temple still exists today and is among the most well preserved in Rome, but the area around the building has today been rebuilt into a large square. Eckersberg was fascinated by the monument’s simple, geometrical design and the possibility to study it according to the principles of perspective. His choice of an antique circular temple as his subject was completely in line with the time’s enthusiasm for Antiquity. There are no figures depicted and the overall expression appears as a mixture of static and light flickering in the bright, clear sunlight.
About the artist:
Eckersberg studied under Nicolai Abildgaard and art historically, he has been proclaimed the Father of Danish Painting, because he was the first professor to establish a school and his students include many of the most famous Golden Age painters. He broke with the idealising art of the 1700s and introduced a new form of realism based on nature studies and compositional principles. In 1810, he won the Academy’s prestigious gold medal, and subsequently spent a year in Paris studying under the great neo-classical painter Jacques-Louis David. Eckersberg was the very first to introduce direct study from nature at the Art Academy, and in doing so, had a decisive impact on the development of Golden Age art in Denmark. He was greatly influential for numerous young artists such as Martinus Rørbye, Christen Købke, Constantin Hansen, Jørgen Roed and Wilhelm Marstand.