Figures in the garden of the Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome, with a view of the old church of San Pancrazio
(Franz Ludwig Catel)


Here one may observe the influence of both J. C. Dahl’s more naturalist approach to landscape painting, and the continuing legacy of the French painters of the generation following Valenciennes. In its clarity, use of light and warm colors, it is typical of those northern painters whose art was transformed by the Italian experience. Catel has also made some subtle, but deliberate allegorical references in the actions of the figures. The young man on the left is apparently singing a love song to the pretty young woman in the foreground. The inclination of his instrument and the tambourine lying on the ground to the right of the group are clear references to his sexual desire and her virginity, which she is perhaps considering compromising in picking petals from the flower she holds. Behind her, a companion looks on, and to the extreme right a mother tries to divert her daughter’s attention from this potentially shocking scene.

The Villa Doria Pamphili was one of several Roman properties of the Doria Pamphili Landi family, including a splendid palace in the Corso, which housed one of the greatest art collections in Italy, another in the Piazza Navona (both of which still belong to the family), and the great park and palace of the Villa Doria Pamphili. At the time this work was painted, the Villa was owned by Prince Filippo Doria Pamphili Landi, Prince of Torriglia, who in 1839 had married Lady (created Princess by her friend and Catel’s patron, Ludwig I of Bavaria) Mary Talbot, daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury and like Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, an English exile in Rome. The Villa was open to anyone with permission of the Prince, but although the early history of this painting is unknown, it is possible that Catel’s Bavarian and English connections were of use in gaining entry.

Dr H. Börsch-Supan, the distinguished scholar of German 19th century Romantic painting, has kindly authenticated the picture. Dr. Andreas Stolzenburg, who has examined the painting in person and identified its location as being the garden of the Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome, has noted a reference to this painting in 1838, and has dated it to 1837/38. It will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné in preparation.

17 ¼ x 26 ins. 44 x 66 cm.
Oil on canvas

Galerie Scheidwimmer, Munich, 1952; Collection of Georg Schäfer, 2000


New York, Matthiesen Gallery and Stair Sainty Matthiesen,  Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism, Realism, Futurism: From 1600 – 1917, 2001, pp.29, 34-6, 82.

Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Franz Ludwig Catel- Italienbilder der Romantikpp.416, no. 194  16. October 2015  until 31. January 2016.

Reggia di Venaria Reale, Turin, June 21st – October 20th 2019.

Where is It?
Matthiesen Gallery
Historical Period
Romanticism - 1810-1870
Genre or Daily Life
German - Austrian
2001-European Paintings-From 1600-1917.
Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism, Realism, Futurism.

(Click on image above)
Price band
$50,000 - $100,000