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Landscape with Gentlemen

flemish school

Documented in the Borghese Collection from 1833, this painting draws inspiration from those small collector’s landscapes generally executed by Flemish painters and widely reproduced during the 19th century. The work depicts a building immersed in a verdant landscape; several men are visible, two of whom wear broad-brimmed hats with conspicuous red feathers.

Object details

1670 ca.
oil on panel
diam. cm 13

19th-century frame, part of a polyptych, 28 x 181.8 x 4 cm


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1833 (Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 29); purchased by Italian state, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1903-05 Luigi Bartolucci;
  • 1958 Alvaro Esposti;
  • 1992 Istituto Centrale del Restauro (pest control).


The provenance of this painting is still uncertain. It was in fact only first mentioned in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1833, when it was ascribed to the ‘school of Brueghel’ (Inv. 1833). Giovanni Piancastelli (1891) repeated this attribution, while also mistakenly giving the work’s support material as slate.

In 1893 Adolfo Venturi made a more general attribution to the ‘Flemish school’, a judgement accepted by both Roberto Longhi (1928) and Paola della Pergola (1959); the latter scholar claimed that this painting was merely a 19th-century derivation, inspired by the oeuvre of Cornelis van Ryssen.

The work was subsequently ignored for decades, reappearing in 2006 in the image-only catalogue of the Galleria Borghese, where it was ascribed to an unknown artist (Herrmann Fiore 2006). The present writer, recognising its clear connection to Flemish models, proposes dating it to the 1670s, when such works circulated widely and were rapidly produced, as is evident here in the summary rendering of the trees and figures.

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 392;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 199;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 218;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, II, Roma 1959, p. 187, n. 279;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 137.