Frye Art Museum

Featured Artwork: Campagna, Italian Landscape

Featured August 01, 2012

George Inness

Campagna, Italian Landscape, ca. 1875
Oil on wood panel
9 5/8 x 12 7/8
Frye Art Museum, Museum Purchase 1960.005

In April of 1870, George Inness and his family set sail for Europe, and they spent the next five years in Italy and France. The impact of Inness’ travels on his art, particularly apparent in his Italian landscapes, was mentioned in 1877 by a critic in the New York Times: “George Inness has lived so long in Italy that he has brought away on his canvas a trace of Italian warmth.” It was in Italy that Inness found his perfect landscape, the place where he chose to test the limits of his skills and powers as a painter.

In this painting, the sun sets on the campagna, the Italian countryside. The moon hovers in the eerie glow of dusk, slowly rising over the coming darkness while luxuriating in the last traces of the day’s light. This languid depiction of a late afternoon is a harmonious ode to the natural space, light, and color that Inness called “the soul of painting.”

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