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image Adam vol.57/16

Reference number

Adam vol.57/16


Italy: Mergellina: 'Virgil's tomb'. View of the so-called tomb of Virgil in its landscape setting outside Naples, with Posillipo in the distance.


Perspectiveverso sketches of arcitectural details


Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Tombeau de Vergile; in ink 16.

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably 1755.

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, grey and brown washes198 x 304


Charles-Louis Clérisseau


Pencil sketch of profile of an architectural moulding, with dimensions.


Virgil's ashes were placed in a tomb outside Naples on the Via Pluteolana, originally between the first and second milestones. The tomb subsequently disappeared and in 1554 the following inscription was placed there: 'Qui cineres? tumuli haec vestigia: conditur olim/ Ille hic qui cecinit pascua, rura, duces'. Robert Adam's drawing in Adam vol.57/21 is taken from the same spot as this drawing by Charles-Louis Clérisseau but lacks the depth given by the latter's introduction of the distant view over Posillipo; there are also adjustments of scale and detail. In Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.X shows a plan and interior view of the tomb by Natali that is contemporary with this drawing and that in Adam vol.57/21, which serves to show the various adjustments made by both Clérisseau and Adam where they have strengthened the architectural form of the mausoleum. In April 1755 Adam noted that 'It [the tomb] is now almost quite ruinous and is only beautiful from its antiquity', which may explain his architectural adjustments (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4769). A print of a similar view by Domenico Cunego after Clérisseau was issued in London in 1766.



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