- Inventory number
- Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
- View of the Gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome
- Ca. 1630
- 48,5 cm x 43 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza interior triangulada”, 1747, n. 478; Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, “cuarto del infante don Antonio”, 1772, n. 478; El Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, n. 710; Royal Palace, Madrid, “secretaría de Estado”, 1814-1818, n. 710)
In this masterpiece of Western landscape painting, Velázquez depicted his idea of landscape without any narrative excuse to justify it.
It was probably painted during his first visit to Rome and is now thought to have been painted to capture a specific moment and atmospheric circumstance: the evening. In a corner of the Villa Medici gardens, two men converse in front of a serliana —an architectural structure made known by Sebastiano Serlio that consists of a round arch flanked by two flat doorways— closed off by wooden boards. Alongside it is a herma (a bust of the classical god, Hermes, which marked crossroads in Antiquity). Above the construction, someone hangs a sheet and, in a niche at the right of the composition, the profiles of some of the sculptures that make up the villa's magnificent art collection are visible.
While very little is know of this work, its beauty and quality place it among the great masterworks at the Prado Museum and one of the few pre-nineteenth century examples of landscape painted directly from nature.