View of the Castel dell'Ovo, Carlo Bonavia

Carlo Bonavia (Italian, active 1751–1788) View of the Castel dell'Ovo, Naples, 1788 Oil on canvas Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961 (2991.1) This is the artist’s last painting and shows one of Naples’s most iconic views. Bonavia likely painted this work and others like it as souvenirs for aristocratic English gentlemen on the Grand Tour, an educational rite of passage meant to prepare them for political and professional careers back in England. The Castel dell’Ovo was a popular stop on the Grand Tour due to its fantastical and ancient history. According to legend, the Roman poet Virgil placed a magical egg in the castle’s foundation to support its fortifications, of which there were many from the building’s origin in the first century B.C. Bonavia shows the scene as it appeared in the 18th century and much as it appears today.
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