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Landscape with a Scene under a Tent

Grimaldi Giovan Francesco

(Bologna 1606 - Rome 1680)

This work on copper, part of a series of four paintings, was commissioned by Prince Giovan Battista Borghese. In 1678, he bought the entire series from the Bolognese artist Gian Francesco Grimaldi. In the four works, the real protagonist is the landscape, a genre in which the well-known landscape painter was highly successful, appreciated for his skill by demanding and cultivated collectors.

On the right in this work is a makeshift tent under which a meal is taking place, as indicated by the plates and glasses, visible on the ground and in the hands of the carefree guests. The classical composition, the small cascade of the waterfall and the roots at the water's edge confirm that the painting was made in 1678, in line with Grimaldi's last works in which there are romantic elements.

Object details

c. 1678
oil on copper
44 x 67 cm

19th century frame decorated with palmettes, 67 x 89 x 10 cm


Rome, Giovan Battista Borghese Collection, 1678 (Della Pergola, 1955, p. 49); Inventario Fidecommissario, 1833, pp. 17 (27, 28), 23 (7, 13); purchased by the Italian State, 1902.

  • 1922 Firenze, Palazzo delle Esposizioni;
  • 1962 Bologna, Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio;
  • 1985 Roma, Palazzo Venezia.
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1913-1914 Tito Venturini Papari (pulitura e verniciatura);
  • 1960-1961 Renato Massi (restauro della cornice).


In 1678, Prince Giovan Battista Borghese made a payment in favour of the Bolognese painter Gian Francesco Grimaldi “for several paintings registered in bill n. 718 and listed in the General Ledger for scudi 926” (Della Pergola, 1955, p. 49). According to Paola della Pergola, the first to track down this billing note in the Borghese fund of the Vatican Apostolic Archive, this sum covered other, more important works, but included this copper painting and three other landscapes (inv. n. 47, 296, 299), reported not long after at the Casino near Porta Pinciana by Domenico Montelatici (1700, p. 302): “the four correlates, painted on copper and depicting landscapes with tiny figures, were produced by Gio. Francesco Bolognese.” In fact, the artist must have produced the four paintings, most likely commissioned to be hung in the ground-floor apartments, while working at Palazzo Borghese in Via Ripetta (1672-78).

According to Batorska (2012, p. 203, n. 146), the subject of this painting, unusual for the Bolognese painter, was chosen by his patron, who wasn’t particularly concerned with the iconographic coherence of the series. For this reason, the scene depicted – a bacchanal of sorts – finds no correspondence in the other three copper tables.    

Antonio Iommelli

  • D. Montelatici, Villa Borghese fuori di Porta Pinciana con l’ornamenti che si osservano nel di lei Palazzo, Roma 1700, p. 302;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, pp. 53, 58, 153;
  • Mostra della pittura italiana del Seicento e del Settecento, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, Palazzo Pitti, 1922), Roma 1922, p. 103;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 180;
  • A. De Rinaldis, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, Roma 1939, p. 30;
  • A. De Rinaldis, Catalogo della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1948, p. 69;
  • P. Della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, pp. 48-49, n. 75;
  • A. Emiliani, in L’ideale classico del ’600 in Italia e la pittura di paesaggio, V Mostra Biennale d’Arte Antica (Bologna, Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio, 1962), a cura di C. Volpe, Bologna 1962, p. 302, n. 45;
  • L. Salerno, Pittori di Paesaggio del Seicento a Roma, Roma 1976, p. 578;
  • Paesaggio con figura: 57 dipinti della Galleria Borghese esposti temporaneamente a Palazzo Venezia, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Museo di Palazzo Venezia, 1985), Roma 1985, p. X, cat. 47;
  • C. Stefani in P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 298;
  • A.M. Matteucci, R. Ariuli, Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi, Bologna 2002, p. 262;
  • 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. 18;
  • D. Batorska, Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi 1605/6-1680, Roma 2012, p. 203, n. 146.