View in the old Park at Caserta
  • Jacob Philipp Hackert
  • Prenzlau 1737 - 1807 San Pietro a Careggi, near Florence
  • View in the old Park at Caserta, 1786
  • Pen and brown ink, brown wash, on paper, mounted on thin cardboard
  • inscribed, signed and dated by the artist on the lower left: Nel Boschetto a Caserta Ph: Hackert 1787,
    inscribed by another hand on the upper left: a Caserta Ph. Hackert f. 1786
  • 698 × 582 mm
Private collection, Southern Germany (ca. 1920-2013)

Represented here is the miniature castle Castelluccio Reale in the old park at Caserta, the summer residence of the Bourbon kings of Naples and the Two Sicilies. Even today, the focal point of this pentagonal complex, which is surrounded by moats, remains the octagonal watchtower – the so-called Torre degli Aquaviva, which the architect Francesco Collecini erected in 1769 under the direction of the castle’s first master builder, Luigi Vanvitelli (1700-1773). Hidden in a grove of old holm oaks (boschetto), this downscaled model fortress served as a training ground for the Neapolitan princes’ military education. The installation was also simultaneously used as a favored endpoint of the courtly promenades from the nearby castle that amused the royal guests.

In 1786, Jacob Philipp Hackert came into office as a royal court painter in the service of the Bourbons in Naples, and remained loyal to his sovereigns there until the turmoil of the 1799 Revolution. He always moved with the court society to Caserta during the summer months, and had an entire apartment at his disposal near the castle in this immense baroque layout far outside the city. Regular drawing lessons – always combined with demonstrations of his own exemplary studies on-site – were among his duties there, especially for the German-speaking ladies at the court. Dr. Claudia Nordhoff views the post hoc “complimentary signature” and dating of the present sheet within this context, probably as a dedication to one of his aristocratic students.

We thank Dr. Claudia Nordhoff-Tortorici for confirming this attribution and providing the detailed commentary for this drawing.