Johan Christian Dahl, Norwegian landscaper, visiting Castellamarre di Stabia, is fortunate to witness an eruption of Vesuvius.
At the beginning of 1820, through an open fracture along the western slope of the large cone, a spectacular lava flow poured towards the Pass of the Savior. The painter visited the eruptive site several times, and made sketches of molten lava, with the Bay of Naples in the background; He also notices the powerlessness of the inhabitants in the face of sulfur gas emanations exhaled by the crevices. Subsequently, in his workshop, Dahl creates spectacular oils on canvas, such as "View of Vesuvius in eruption" (1821)
"View of Vesuvius in eruption" in 1920 - Oil on canvas work by J.C. Dahl (1921) - kept at the Städel Art Institute and municipal gallery
Der ausbruch des Vesuv im Dezember1820 / Öl auf Leinwand 128 x 172 cm / Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
"Boats on the beach near Naples" depicts the bay magnified by the erupting volcano, and the life that goes on for fishermen.
Like the previous painting, several different versions were executed ... in this theme, we see various phases of the eruption on the basis of an almost similar setting.
Johan Christian Dahl, born February 24, 1788 in Bergen and died October 14, 1857 in Dresden, is a Norwegian landscape painter.
He comes from a simple background: his father is a modest fisherman from Bergen, Norway.
As a child, Dahl studied at Bergen Cathedral to become a priest, but his early artistic abilities led him to pursue a career in painting. From 1803 to 1809, he studied with the painter Johan Georg Müller, whose workshop was then the most important in Bergen. He began to paint for theater sets, tried his hand at portraiture and views of Bergen and its surroundings.
Dahl continued his studies at the Academy in Copenhagen, a city in which he painted the surrounding countryside.
Dahl participated in annual art exhibitions in Copenhagen from 1812, but his real breakthrough occurred in 1815, when he exhibited no less than thirteen paintings. Danish prince Christian Frederik ensures that his works are purchased for the royal collection; he also becomes a friend and a patron of the artist.
Prince Christian Frederik wrote to Dahl in 1820 from Italy to invite him to the Quisisana Palace in Castellammare di Stabia, located at the foot of the majestic Mont Faito. - The name of the place refers to "Stabia", deriving from the old Roman name, and to "Castellammare" designating the 9th century castle around which the city developed - Charmed by the place and the view of Vesuvius, Dahl takes a series of unusual views of great artistic quality, and has thus created charming landscapes of this lesser-known corner of the Gulf of Naples and our volcano.
The luck, for Dahl, wanted at the beginning of 1820, through an open fracture along the western slope of the great cone, a spectacular lava flow towards the Pass of the Savior. This stay becomes a decisive factor in his artistic development. It is in Italy, with its strong southern light, that Dahl's art truly reaches its peak.
- Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
- Biography - Wikipedia.