For centuries Italy has fascinated travelers and artists. From the crumbling ruins of ancient Rome to the crystal- clear light of Venice, artists have found inspiration not only in the cities but also in the countryside and in the deep history and culture. From as early as the 1500s, artists visiting from France, England, the Netherlands, and Germany drew sketches to preserve vivid memories, often creating work of extraordinary atmosphere and beauty in the process. A growing number of tourists in the subsequent centuries fueled a further demand for souvenir views, spurring local artists to craft their own masterpieces. This little book is a narrated assemblage of some of these beautiful views, which transport the reader effortlessly to Italy, rekindling memories, setting intentions, or provoking curiosity. A central essay provides new insights into the topographical renditions of Italian scenes over the centuries, while compelling illustrations of works from the Getty collection by artists such as R. P. Bonington, J. M. W. Turner, Claude Lorrain, Giovanni Battista Lusieri, Canaletto, and many more capture the essence and spirit of Italy.
Julian Brooks is senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where he has organized and co-organized numerous exhibitions. Among his many publications are Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action (Getty Publications, 2015) and Master Drawings Close-Up (Getty Publications, 2010).