Landscape with the Belvedere of the Vatican
Having moved to Rome in 1688, Bloemen stayed there until his death. His landscapes are in the tradition of the Italian Classicism of Carrachi and Domenichino, and the Italianate landscapes of Claude Gellée and particularly Gaspard Dughet, his predecessors in Rome. His nickname of “Orizzonte” came from the broad perspectives of his landscapes, his poetic backgrounds in the distance. Bloemen loved the Roman countryside; he made many journeys into the Alban Hills to draw picturesque sights and medieval-looking villages that he later incorporated into his paintings.
This painting can be dated towards the end of the artist’s career, around 1740. It is typical of the “composed” landscape where the artist combines elements taken from different locations to create an ideal image of a natural scene, revisited with cultural elements: a variety of different trees, the summer residence of the Vatican in the background, ruins evoking Antiquity in the foreground. The figures in the midst of the ruins give the image the required “picturesque” touch, making this grandeur more approachable. The painting combines the classical serenity of Nicolas Poussin with natural and architectural elements that enhance its decorative aspect.