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All That Glistens

Johannes Lingelbach
Frankfurt 1622 – 1674 Amsterdam
View of Piazza del Popolo
oil on copper
23 ⅜ x 32 ¼ inches
60 x 82 cm

Johannes Lingelbach (1622-1674) was born in Frankfurt but made his career in Amsterdam. He was in Paris in the 1640s and lived in Rome for six years from 1650. His style was much influenced by the Bamboccianti group of northern genre painters in Rome. Back in Holland he continued to paint Roman scenes, and so broadly belongs to the Dutch Italianate School.

The Piazza del Popolo, on the Via Flaminia at the northern end of the city, provided most visitors with their first close up experience of Rome. In the present painting, the Porto del Popolo is shown in neglected condition before it’s restoration by Bernini to mark the arrival of Queen Cristina of Sweden in 1655. The Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome by the Emperor Augustus, was placed there by Pope Sixtus V in 1589 during his ‘Haussmannisation’ of the city streets and squares. The modest fountain conceived by Giacomo della Porta in 1572 was moved elsewhere. Today the piazza seems a much more urban place as a result of its re-ordination by Giuseppe Valadier in 1811-12 but in the 17th century, like much of Rome, it still had the neglected, rural feeling portrayed in this painting. Cattle grazed in the Forum and much of the city within the Aurelian wall was undeveloped and not built up until after the unification of Italy in 1870.

Similar views by the artist are in the Vienna Academy (inv. no. GG-803) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (inv. no. 60.34; fig. 1). Lingelbach’s figures are always inventive and he was in demand to do the staffage for leading landscape painters like Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709). The present painting shows a cross section of society, from the dandified huntsman with his dogs and the gallant doffing his hat off to someone high up in an adjacent building to the peasant woman selling groceries and the seated beggar or indigent. This is the only known painting on copper by the artist.

Fig. 1 Johannes Lingelbach, The Piazza del Popolo, Rome, ca. 1660 © Minneapolis Institute of Art, inv. 60.34

Giorgio Balella, Rome

with Antiquario Constantini, Rome

Private collection, Rome



Caserta, Reggia di Caserta, Da Artemisia a Hackert. La collezione di un antiquario, 16 September 2019 – 16 January 2020



Andrea Busiri Vici, ‘Fantasie romane di Johannes Lingelbach’, Studi Romani, January-February 1959, vol. 7, pp. 48-49, reproduced pl. VIII, 1-2.

Catja Burger-Wegener, Johannes Lingelbach: 1622-1674, Berlin, 1976, p. 240, no. 36.

Renate Trnek, Die holländischen Gemälde, Vienna, 1992, p. 254, under n. 10.

Giovanna Capitelli in Marcella di Martino and Vittorio Sgarbi (eds.), Da Artemisia a Hackert. La collezione di un antiquario, Reggia di Caserta, Caserta, 2019, exh. cat., pp. 160-161, no. 74.

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