View of Turin under the snow, Gran Madre di Dio church, 1850
Oil on canvas, H. 0.21 m; W. 0.33 m
Pencil inscription in the top margin : Neve
Provenance: Private collection, Italy
Caffi settled in Venice at eighteen to study at the Academy. He left for Rome in the 1830s but returned to Venice several times in the 1840s. He achieved his first great success with his view paintings of Venice and Rome when he took part in an exhibition on the Piazza del Popolo in Rome in 1844. In 1846, he exhibited in the Salon of Paris Carnevale sulla Piazetta; a nocturnal Venetian view with some fireworks effects. He reproduced it several times to meet the art lovers’ demands. His short and eventful career also led him to Naples, London, Spain and in the Middle East.
There is another version of our View of Turin, this time without any snow, dated from November 15th, 1850 and kept at the Galleria d‘Arte Moderna – Cà Pesaro, Venice. On his return from Switzerland, Caffi spent the winter of 1850 in Turin. In the top margin, in the centre of the sky, one can read the word Neve (snow), written in pencil by the artist.
Caffi’s urban views are rigorously constructed and perpetuate the Canaletto tradition. Their success is due to the delicacy of their colours, their meticulous details and their sometimes amazing light effects. In the present picture, Caffi’s chromatic sensibility can be seen in this fabulous white and blue winter sky, where Piedmont’s characteristic mist is rising.