Ducros - A Swiss Painter in Italy

'Ducros: A Swiss Painter in Italy'. (Exhibition Poster)

Ducros: A Swiss Painter in Italy
11th June – 31st August 2003

Supported by Pro Helvetia and the Embassy of Switzerland, Dublin

This was an exhibition of 50 spectacular views of Italy, Sicily and Malta by the Swiss artist, Abraham-Louis-Rodolphe Ducros (1748-1810) drawn from the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, the repository of 500 works from Ducros' studio, acquired in 1816.

Ducros was one of the most successful watercolourists of the late eighteenth century. He painted landscapes with natural and atmospheric effects and great intensity of colour. His style gradually replaced that of Giovanni Paolo Panini and influenced a generation of British watercolour artists, in particular Turner.

These large watercolours in the exhibition were produced during the artist's tour of Rome, Naples, Sicily and Malta which featured antique monuments, ancient ruins, modern townscapes and harbour scenes. The most familiar views on display were The Arch of Constantine; The Gardens of the Villa Farnese, Entrance to Malta below the Fort Ricasoli, and The Eruption of Vesuvius and Shipwreck.

Ducros used watercolour with great power and on a large scale; his works on paper were often laid on canvas and varnished in order to allow them to compete with oil paintings. They were particularly popular and collected by a small circle of diplomats and admirers, anxious to acquire a souvenir of their time in Italy.
Raymond Keaveney, Director of the Gallery said of the exhibition : '"Whilst the name Ducros may not be instantly recognisable, his images and subject matter have universal appeal, representing the splendid and seductive attractions of the Italian peninsula, attractions which were at their most potent in the late 18th century, the age of the Grand Tour."

Exhibition Catalogue:
Ducros: A Swiss Painter in Italy
© 2003 Jörg Zutter and the National Gallery of Ireland
Coordinated by Sergio Benedetti and Fionnuala Croke
Editors Elizabeth Mayes; translation by Charles Penwarden from 1998 edition by Jörg Zutter
ISBN 1904288-03-0