Giambologna (Flemish sculptor and architect, 1529-1608, active in Italy)


ca. 1770 (creation)

Alternate Title

Rustic Scene


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Artist ID





Rustic Scene, like many eighteenth-century landscape paintings, combines rural peasantry with nature to create an ideal, romantic landscape. The artist's objective was to create a sublime and whimsical scene. In contrast to academic compositions intended for public display, landscape paintings of this period were created for personal residences.1 Although landscape painting marked a departure from history painting's strict guidelines, artists painted without much artistic freedom, as such paintings often reflected the patrons' desires. The wealthy commissioned rural pictorial settings to evoke thoughts of country vistas beyond the city walls, allowing them to reflect upon carefree rustic leisure. Despite the lack of creative freedom granted to landscape artists, the compositions sparked a variety of responses from individual viewers dependent upon their perspectives. Rustic Scene, attributed to the Northern Italian artist, Basilio Lasinio, shares stylistic similarities with a Venetian contemporary, Francesco Zuccarelli. The compositional congruity of subject and method suggests that either Lasinio scrutinized Zuccarelli's technique, studied first-hand with the artist, or Zuccarelli himself painted the landscape. The latter is somewhat plausible, as on the reverse of the painting, a label identifies the painter as Francesco Zuccarelli in the year 1950, which was when Samuel H. Kress acquired the painting from the Florentine, Contini Bonacossi. According to recent research, however, the "present painting was inscribed on the reverse of the canvas before it was relined with an inscription that suggested that the composition was conceived by Zuccarelli, but executed by his (little known) pupil Lasinio."2 Recurring characteristics of Zuccarelli's landscape technique are evident in Rustic Scene. The Venetian artist preferred painting the conventional and pleasurable aspects of Italy's rural landscapes, with blissful peasantry and tranquil atmospheres. In the center of Rustic Scene are two female peasants; one holds a small boy and, to the right, two peasant men fish in a stream. The landscape's setting is in the country under clear blue skies, with a distant blue mountain range in the background. Further similarities to Zuccarelli's landscapes appear in Rustic Scene. For instance, trees frame the painting's right side. On the left of the painting, the figures of an older male and a female child - smaller in comparison to the central figures - are beginning to walk along an earthen path that leads the viewer's eye to the faraway mountains. These visible aspects coincide with the stylistic inclinations attributed to Zuccarelli. The genre of landscape painting did not exist independently in Northern Italy. In Venice, landscape painters were few, and those who considered themselves landscape artists lacked significant talent. Yet, common characteristics of Northern Italian landscape compositions emerged. In particular, a noteworthy Venetian attribute was to portray a romanticized rather than realistic setting. The artist of Rustic Scene, whether Lasinio or Zuccarelli, certainly adhered to these general approaches taken by Northern Italian artists working in the eighteenth century. Rustic Scene contains people in the guise of peasantry and, coinciding with the Venetian stereotype, this scene is idealized, and not a literal extraction from nature. The painting's idealized scenery resembles the work of the seventeenth-century Italian artist Claude Gellé, known as Claude Lorrain. These similarities strengthen the contention that Francesco Zuccarelli indeed influenced Rustic Scene's composition, because records state Zuccarelli closely studied Lorrain's work. Both artists create miraculous scenes not taken from the everyday, and include a sense of Arcadia, a deliberate golden age place. Furthermore, it is likely that Basilio Lasinio was a student of the Venetian Academy in the early 1770s when Zuccarelli was the Academy's president. This opportunity would have provided Lasinio with the resources he required to create stylistic compositions similar to those of Zuccarelli. The overall condition of this landscape painting remains structurally sound, but the irreversible consequences of time and conservational mistakes contribute to the painting's deteriorated state. Debris between the canvas and the stretcher has damaged the canvas surface. In addition, the composition was at one time unevenly, as well as overly, cleaned. These elements are particularly evident in the imbalance of lights and darks. Moreover, discolored superficial retouches contribute to the painting's overall grimy appearance.3 Although the artist of Rustic Scene remains indefinite, discernible evidence establishes this painting as Venetian. Since landscape painting did not evolve into a well-respected art in Northern Italy, Zuccarelli may have been considered one of the two leading landscape artists because he was among the earliest to emerge. According to chronology, Basilio Lasinio followed Zuccarelli and was probably not differentiated from preceding artists because his style was extremely similar. The painting emphasizes transience and vitality in nature executed with a romanticized palette. Rustic Scene incites pleasure and the sublime within the period context of eighteenth-century Venetian landscape composition. Christine Lewis 1 Ronald Paulson asserts, "Venetian painting in the eighteenth-century meant non-academic painting." Paulson, Ronald, "Living Space in Eighteenth-Century Venetian Art: Longhi and the View Painters," Eighteenth-Century Studies (The Johns Hopkins University): 458. 2 Lipton, James and Christopher T. Apostle, "Appraisal Report, January 20, 2004," excerpted from Shapley, F. Rusk, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Paintings Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century (1970): 160, illus., fig. 308. 3 Patricia Sherwin Garland, Conservationist Report (2004) Provenance Contini Bonacossi, Florence, from whom acquired by Kress in 1950 Exhibited Tulsa, Okla., Tulsa Traveling Study Collection, April-September 1960, as by Lasinio

Description Source

Eliasoph, Philip (editor); The Samuel H. Kress Collection of Italian Paintings at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT : Fairfield University, 2004




landscapes, landscape, peasant, workers, farmers, fishermen, woman, man, child, men, Kress



Work Type


Work Technique

painting, oil


DiMenna-Nysellus Library (Fairfield, Connecticut, United States)


oil on canvas.


15 1/4 x 23 1/4 in (overall)

Image Rights

© Jesús Escobar

Image Source

Jesus Escobar; fair use

File Type


Photo Credit

Jesus Escobar


landscapes, landscape, peasant, workers, farmers, fishermen, woman, man, child, men, Kress