Johann Jacob Wolfensberger (Rumlikon 1797 - Zürich 1850)

View of Rome from the Janiculum Hill, with the Oak of Tasso Sold

Watercolour, over a pencil underdrawing.
Signed and inscribed Wolfensberger / Rom on the steps at the lower left centre.
Inscribed (priced) 16 piaster on the verso.
Further inscribed, in a modern hand, Le chêne du Tasse et l’hemicycle / de St Philippe de Neri au Monastère / de Sant Onofrio à ROME / par Wolfensberger (1825) on the old backing board.
Also inscribed, in a modern hand, Le chêne du courent de Saint Onophre sur le Janicule / sous lequel Le Tasse se fit postes pour mousis(?) et / ou Chateaubriand retait de finis ses jours / (Mémoires d’Outre tombe) on the old backing board.
208 x 270 mm. (8 1/8 x 10 5/8 in.)


The so-called Oak of Tasso (or Quercia del Tasso) was a famous Roman landmark located on the northern tip of the Janiculum Hill in Trastevere, a ridge of high ground to the west of the Tiber river which afforded a panoramic view of the centre of Rome. The ancient oak tree was long associated with the 16th century poet Torquato Tasso, who according to legend spent much of the last year of his life sitting underneath the tree, gazing down on Rome and waiting for official recognition of his works from Pope Clement VIII. Tasso died in the nearby church and convent of Sant’Onofrio, where he is buried. The oak which bears his name survived until the early 20th century when it was struck by lightning; only a remnant of the tree survives today, supported by metal scaffolding and concrete1. A small open-air amphitheatre underneath the tree, built in the 17th century in natural hollow in the side of the hill, is named for the Oak of Tasso.


View of Rome from the Janiculum Hill, with the Oak of Tasso


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