Picturesque “vedute”


“Veduta” painting is a type of realistic, objective, and documentative landscape painting that developed over time thanks to the evolution of optical science. The term “picturesque” was first used in 18th century England to indicate garden and landscape paintings in which nature appears in all its multi-faceted varieties and unique geographic and environmental features, in emotional and compositional harmony with the surrounding architecture. This genre of painting, a sort of precursor to postcards, was popular until the mid-19th century.

Prospero Minghetti depicts a country scene just outside a hamlet on the slopes of the Reggio Apennines. His images portray a world that no longer exists, a quiet daily existence far removed from that of modern cities. Camillo Crespolani shows us Modena as it was in the past: the city is painted from the countryside near one of the two local rivers, the Secchia or the Panaro. In the distance, one can see the city’s historic centre and its monuments: the Romanesque Cathedral with the Ghirlandina bell tower, and the baroque and solemn Palazzo Ducale, home to the Court of Este from the 17th to the 19th centuries.