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  • In 1754 William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801), commissioned a set of sixty-eight drawings from Wilson as a souvenir of his Grand Tour. These ‘Dartmouth Drawings,’ all views of Italy, are considered one of the crowning achievements of Wilson’s years in Italy and of British topographical draftsmanship in the eighteenth century. The initial commission as negotiated by Thomas Jenkins was more modest in scope with just twenty drawings of Rome and its environs; this sheet belongs to that first series all of which were mounted with a characteristic lilac border and numbered one through twenty, this sheet being number nineteen. This soon became a more ambitious project and eventually totalled sixty-eight drawings according to Wilson’s pupil, Joseph Farington, although only twenty-six drawings can now be traced. This drawing represents the so-called Temple of Minerva Medica, a ruin that was one of the most famous and frequently reproduced Antique monuments in eighteenth-century Rome. Situated close to the Porta Maggiore on agricultural land within the ancient Aurelian walls, the decagonal, domed structure was identified during the eighteenth century as a temple dedicated to Minerva the Doctor but was most likely a dining pavilion built for an elite Roman family in around AD 300. Wilson’s sheet emphasizes the brick ribs that formed the dome of the structure, which collapsed in 1828; the facade and campanile of the church of Santa Bibiana are seen beyond. Like all the Dartmouth Drawings, Wilson executed this sheet in black chalk with white heightening on a toned paper in the manner of the French artists then working at the Académie de France à Rome.
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  • Over the course of his stay in Italy, Wilson developed into a draftsman of great subtlety and delicacy. One of the crowning achievements of his years there is the series of sixty-eight finished landscape drawings, which Lord Dartmouth commissioned from Wilson following his two oil paintings of Rome. Of the drawings, twenty-some are known today. “The Temple of Minerva Medica” is one of two from the set now in the Yale Center for British Art. Because of the statue of Minerva found within it, the fourth-century ruin was thought to be a temple to the goddess, though it is now believed to have been a nymphaeum, or fountain structure, in the Gardens of Licinius. The dome visible in Wilson’s drawing collapsed in 1828. While Wilson’s drawings for Dartmouth are topographical in that they depict actual views in Rome and its environs, his choice of media—black and white chalk on blue paper—reflects not the standard practice of the topographical draftsman, which would have been pen and ink with watercolor, but the techniques employed at the Académie Française in Rome, redolent of the traditions of Old Master drawing.
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  • Alternate title :: T. of Minerva Medica.
  • Alternate title :: Temple of Minerva Medici, Rome
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Catalogue of pictures by Richard Wilson and his circle, November 17-January 9 1948-9, City Museum & Art Gallery Birmingham, Birmingham, 1948, p. 24, no. 88, V 2449 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Catalogue of an exhibition of pictures by Richard Wilson and his circle : organized by the City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, January, 1949, The Tate Gallery, London, , Tate Britain, London, 1949, p. 27, no. 87, NJ18 W72 T37 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. 250-251, no. 20, pl. 20, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Mahonri Sharp Young, The Mellon Drawings at the Morgan, Apollo, vo. 95, no. 122, April, 1972, pp. 331, 332-33, fig. 3, N1 A54 + (YCBA) , Another copy available in Vertical File - V 2330
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Richard Wilson and the transformation of European landscape painting, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014, pp. 64, 254, 255, Cat. No. 67, fig. 57, NJ18.W72 R53 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Windows on that world, essays on British art presented to Brian Allen, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 2012, p. 70, N6766 .W56 2012 (YCBA)
  • Dimension height :: 28.7cm
  • Dimension height :: 35.2cm
  • Dimension width :: 42.1cm
  • Dimension width :: 49.5cm
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850
  • Exhibition :: Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art
  • Exhibition :: Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting
  • Exhibition :: The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: drawing
  • Subject Concept :: architectural subject
  • Subject Concept :: buildings
  • Subject Concept :: city
  • Subject Concept :: fields
  • Subject Concept :: figures
  • Subject Concept :: landscape
  • Subject Concept :: nymphaeum
  • Subject Concept :: ruins
  • Subject Concept :: temple
  • Subject Concept :: trees
  • Subject Concept :: wall
  • Subject Event :: Grand Tour
  • Subject Place :: Italy
  • Subject Place :: Lazio
  • Subject Place :: Roma
  • Subject Place :: Rome
  • Subject Place :: Temple of Minerva Medica
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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?:label
  • Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome
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