The build-up over time of an artistic endowment, impressive for its quantity and quality, is the result of the Academy's collecting vocation which occurs in two ways. The first is represented by the so-called "entrance gifts”, which the institution required from each artist upon their admission into the academic congregation. However has also been also the result of donations and bequests by artists, collectors, patrons of the Academy, more frequently from the eighteenth century onwards. One instance is the large bequest from an eccentric figure in early eighteenth century Rome, Fabio Rosa, through whom approximately two hundred paintings—some later dispersed—were accessioned to the academic collections in 1753.
The Archaeologist (1749) by Giovanni Paolo PanniniNational Academy of San Luca
In the Fabio Rosa bequest’s paintings are unified by their excellent quality, and for belonging to a genre of painting—landscape—alien to the academic tradition and yet central in the trends on collecting prompted by the phenomenon of the Grand Tour.
Two antithetical examples: two famous "capriccios" by Giovanni Paolo Pannini —The Archaeologist and An Apostle Preaching in which little narrative episodes oddly take place in a monumental setting derived from antiquity.
An Apostle Preaching (1749) by Giovanni Paolo PanniniNational Academy of San Luca
Piacenza-born painter Giovanni Paolo Pannini arrival in Rome in 1711, he was already expert in painting architectures, Pannini dedicated himself to studying figure painting, to complete his training.
In 1719 he was admitted to the Academy of Saint Luke, where he was appointed teacher of perspective. From this point on, his career was studded with major public and private commissions and official recognition. He was appointment as prince of the Academy, in 1754.
View of the Port of Ripa Grande (1680/1690) by Gaspar van WittelNational Academy of San Luca
The collection also preserves a no less famous pair of paintings by Gaspar van Wittel, which are examples of strictly topographical accuracy in the rendering of everyday urban life.
The View of the Port of Ripa Grande represents the Tiber in the end portion of its course within the city: in the foreground are the populated via Marmorata that runs along the Aventine Hill and the ruins of Rome, including the Temple of Hercules and that of Portunus, next to the harbour on the Tiber. The fulcrum of the composition is the port of Ripa Grande.
View of the Aniene before the Waterfall (1680/1690) by Gaspar van WittelNational Academy of San Luca
In the View of the Aniene before the Waterfall, pendant of View of the Port of Ripa Grande, Tivoli is seen from the left bank near the Piazza Rivarola.
With the bridge of San Martino on the background and a group of houses on the right—the area is now occupied by Villa Gregoriana—and the Gate of Sant'Angelo from which the Via Valeria started.
Landscape with shepherds (1726) by Jan Franz van Bloemen called OrizzonteNational Academy of San Luca
Among the Nordic artists lured to Rome by the certainty of an international market, is Belgian painter Jan van Bloemen Franz.
The heir of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain’s classicism, van Bloemen Franz celebrated throughout the first half of the eighteenth century the harmony of the Roman countryside, which thanks to his personal style becomes at the same time the place of history through the epiphany of the ancient monuments, and the place of myth and Arcadia.
Dispute of philosophers in a Roman villa (1726) by Jan Franz van Bloemen called OrizzonteNational Academy of San Luca
In 1688 Jan van Bloemen Franz arrived in Rome along with his brother, Pieter. As was customary, he was given a nickname;
Orizzonte refers his ability to represent infinite distances. He was admitted in the Academy of Saint Luke in 1742, in spite of a rather stormy relationship with the artist.
Perspective View (Stage design) (1718/1730) by Canaletto (Antonio Canal)National Academy of San Luca
Instead this Perspective View (Stage design) of Canaletto entered the Academy through the bequest of painter Domenico Pellegrini (1840). The capriccio, or perhaps an early study for a theatre set, evokes a fantastic Capitol, seen through a loggia with four arches, framed by Corinthian columns and enlivened by golden ornaments and statues.
The fulcrum of the composition at the top of the stairs is an equestrian monument that recalls Marcus Aurelius, inserted under a triumphal arch. The work may have been done immediately after Canaletto’s stay in Rome (1718-1720), since it deploys a veritable repertoire of ancient ruins.
Marina di Anzio (1743) by Claude Joseph VernetNational Academy of San Luca
The academic collections were also enriched through by the so-called "entrance gifts”, which the institution required from each artist upon their admission into the academic congregation, such as for John Parker and Claude Joseph Vernet.
Vernet was appointed academic of merit in 1743 and he gave to the Academy this Marine at Anzio. It is a typical example of the his production during his Italian sojourn. A period in which his landscapes and seascapes, depicting often little-known places on the coast of Lazio, are rendered with vibrant touches that reveal particular attention to real places.
Landscape with hunter (XVIIIth century) by John ParkerNational Academy of San Luca
John Parker, an English landscapist, lived between about 1740 and 1762, he was appointed academic of merit in 1756 and he presented this Landscape with hunter who was considered "worthy of praise" and became part of the accademic collections.
This work, where brownish hues predominate, transforms the rich and dense vegetation—seemingly looked at from nature—into a theatrical setting, that opens up to show a stream and a small figure, perhaps a hunter, entering into the forest accompanied by a spotted English setter.