(1810, Kézdimárkosfalva - 1898, Budapest)

Vesuvius Seen from the Island of Capri

Watercolour, 16,1 x 24,3 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Miklós Barabás, the most distinguished Hungarian portraitist of the 19th-century, also painted several landscapes in watercolours. These paintings suggest that he enjoyed the artistic freedom provided by this genre, which was in sharp contrast with the tediousness of portrait painting. His sojourn in Italy during 1834 and 1835 enabled Barabás to discover this new way of expression. He travelled with an English companion, the artist William Leitch, from whom Barabás learned a freer technique of aquarelle painting.

Instead of the customary approach of travelling painters, in "Vesuvius Seen from the Island of Capri (1835), he depicted the outbreaking volcano with daring yellow-blue contrasts. The swirling smoke and the trembling vapon in the air produce a forceful atmospheric effect. This new type of composition leads the eye uninterruptedly from the sensuously depicted wayves in the foreground towards the volcanic mountain painted at the centre of the picture.

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