Expanding Horizons | Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape

  • 30th June − 28th October 2012 | Scottish National Gallery | £7 (£5)

Sicily

The precise circumstances of Lusieri’s move to Sicily are not known.  He may have arrived with the royal entourage in December 1798 and begun work on his Panoramic View of Palermo and the Concad’Oro.  Before long the artist moved on to Taormina, where the majority of his surviving Sicilian drawings were made. Lusieri later recorded that he had been mistaken for a French spy and arrested by the local authorities; he may have accepted the official position of Royal Painter of the Antiquities of the Demone and Noto Valleys in eastern Sicily, which included Taormina, to avoid further molestation. 

It was while he was working at Taormina that Lusieri was approached by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, to accompany him on his embassy to Constantinople as official draughtsman, and they signed a contract in October 1799.  Together with Elgin’s private secretary, William Richard Hamilton, Lusieri assembled a team of architects, moulders and draughtsmen, but their departure for the eastern Mediterranean was delayed, and they spend the early months of 1800 drawing and measuring the monuments of Agrigento. 

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