The Palu di Pontin Marshes once stretched to the southeast of Rome on both sides of Via Appia, home to herds of black buffaloes and a place where Rome often suffered from malaria. After the ancient drainage system fell into disrepair, it was not re-drained until the 20th century. Corbyn wrote about the painting in a letter to his patron: “One can see, across the Pontin Marsh, into the Tyrrhenian Sea, into which the sun’s disc is about to sink. The crimson sky of Scirocco was Reflected by the water, the River Nymphaeus leads it to the sea. In the distance, on the left, the promontory of Mount Silcero rises from the reedy plain, formerly Kirk Island, and further on, Ponsa One of the archipelagos. To the right of the river, a dilapidated Caesar-era waterway can be seen; in the foreground is the ruins of a half-Roman, half-medieval castle with a round tower. And a herd of wild buffaloes swimming between the riverbanks. “
Looking down, looking into the distance, omitting the foreground. Corbisch was very concerned with extreme coloured light phenomena, of course because he (and Ernst Friss) discovered the blue caves of Capri (which we covered previously on Art of the Day; check out our archives) query). Here it can be seen that light – the primordial spectacle – seems to reveal, far beyond the existence of God, the force of nature.
The subject of the painting was a favorite of romantic German painters for decades, such as Caspar David Friedrich (see his most famous work) .
Thanks to the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin for sharing today’s painting with us.
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111 x 62 cm
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