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Sea view with a Rock

Toeput Lodewyk called Pozzoserrato

(Antwerp 1550 - Treviso 1603-05)

While critics and sources in the past ascribed this painting to either Joachim Patenier or Pozzoserrato, today it is more generally attributed to an anonymous artist active in Antwerp in the second half of the 16th century and familiar with the innovations introduced by these masters into landscape painting. Its first recorded connection with the Borghese Collection dates to 1693. It depicts a nocturnal landscape with steep mountains perforated at their bases. Bathed in moonlight, the surrounding sea and sky fuse into the same colour. 

Object details

1580 ca.
oil on panel
cm 22 x 25

Salvator Rosa, 89.6 x 36.8 x 4.5 cm


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1693 (Inv. 1693, room XI, nos 7-8); Inventario Fidecommissario, 1833, p. 27; purchased by Italian state, 1902.

  • 2012/13 - Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1958 - Alvaro Esposti


The provenance of this painting is still unknown. Its first recorded connection with the Borghese Collection in 1693, when it appears in the inventory of that year with the number ‘59’, still visible in the bottom right hand corner of the work. At first attributed to Herri met de Bles, called il Civetta, or ‘the owl’ (Inv. 1693), it was listed in the Inventario Fidecommissario of 1833 as a panel by Paul Bril. While Giovanni Piancastelli (1891) upheld this attribution, Adolfo Venturi (1893) rejected it in favour of Joachim Patenier, the Flemish master who specialised in the production of fantastic landscapes and vistas. Venturi’s theory won the support of Roberto Longhi (1928).

Taking certain details into account, such as the perforated mountains, Paola della Pergola (1959) ascribed the panel to the Flemish painter Lodewijck Toeput: originally from Antwerp, he went to Venice in 1582 and is documented as having been active in Florence, Rome and Treviso, where he died in the first years of the 17th century. Although accepted by Kristina Herrmann Fiore (2006), Della Pergola’s hypothesis was challenged by Isabella Rossi (2012), who noted that in spite of the fact that certain details, such as the rendering of the rocks and the openings in the cliffs, point to the hand of Toeput, these devices were common to a number of painters, as they formed part of the well-worn idiom of the compact circle of artists from Antwerp.  

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1891, p. 387;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 122;
  • J. A. Rusconi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Bergamo 1906, p. 86;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 197;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, II, Roma 1959, p. 181, n. 286;
  • L. Collobi Ragghianti, Dipinti fiamminghi in Italia: 1420- 1570. Catalogo, Bologna 1990, p. 141;
  • 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.69;
  • I. Rossi, in Fables du paysage flamand. Bosch, Bles, Breughel, Bril, catalogo della mostra (Lille, 2012-2013), a cura di A. Tapié, Paris 2012, p. 318, n. 98