Vesuvius (Study)

Edoardo Dalbono1872/1872

Fondazione Cariplo

Fondazione Cariplo
Milan, Italy

This work can be identified as one of the nine Studies shown at the Seconda Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera, in Milan, in 1872. It depicts Vesuvius during an eruption, most probably the one of 26 April 1872. This striking natural event drew many artists to the slopes of the volcano and particularly painters from the Resina School: Marco De Gregorio, Giuseppe De Nittis and Federico Rossano. In conceiving the works exhibited in Milan, Dalbono – who came into contact with the Resina School in those same years through Nicola Palizzi, in whose studio he trained – was very likely inspired by that successful series of over sixty small panels executed by De Nittis, between 1871 and 1872, depicting Vesuvius in many different light conditions, adopting an a macchia (patchy) handling and vivid colours in unusual compositions (some of these works are in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan). These were the years in which De Nittis had to leave Paris because of the Franco-Prussian War and in Resina (today Herculaneum) he strengthened his bonds of friendship and artistic ties. Dalbono belonged to this circle so much so that, a few years later, he could count on De Nittis’s help to enter the Paris market. It is therefore likely that the two of them may have worked side by side on studies from life of Vesuvius on more than one occasion. This is a subject also present in other examples of coeval landscape painting by Dalbono, for instance On the Slopes of Vesuvius (Milan, Galleria d’Arte Moderna). Unlike De Nittis in his panels, Dalbono prefers a traditional perspective, marked by the line of the horizon separating the cone of the volcano from the landscape below, while he returns to applying the paint directly to the panel without priming. In the upper portion of the painting the dense cloud of smoke from the eruption is described with rapid yet precise brushstrokes that allow the support to be glimpsed at various points, and the image is dominated by the bright blue sky, while the lower portion of the panel is left completely bare. However, the work does not appear to be unfinished, since this device makes the impression truly convincing, and also suggests the desolate plain surrounding the volcano.


  • Title: Vesuvius (Study)
  • Creator: Edoardo Dalbono
  • Creator Lifespan: 1841/1915
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Naples
  • Creator Birth Place: Naples
  • Date: 1872/1872
  • Signature, Inscription: E. Dalbono 1872
  • Exhibition History: This painting was exhibited at the Seconda Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera, in Milan, in 1872 (no. 670 or no. 671-678)
  • Provenance: Cariplo Foundation, 1991
  • Type: Painting, oil on panel
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps