The beach of Marina Piccola in Capri
  • Franz Skarbina
  • Berlin 1849 - 1910
  • The beach of Marina Piccola in Capri, 1883
  • Watercolour and gouache on paper
  • signed, inscribed and dated: F. Skarbina / Capri 83
  • 250 × 332 mm

The Beach Scene on Capri from 1883 serves as an excellent example of Skarbina’s virtuosic mastery of watercolour technique, which proved to be an especially effective means of expression by which the artist could place instantaneous impressions “al fresco” into the image as appropriate. These works in gouache and watercolour painting invariably occupied a considerable portion of Skarbina’s oeuvre; indeed, from 1878 onwards he had been an honorary member of the Société Royale Belge des Aquarellistes (The Royal Belgian Society of Watercolourists) in Brussels. In this beach scene from Capri he now declares himself a practiced plein air painter, both through his depiction of the rock formation and through his rendering of the moving sea foam. By attempting to represent the specific site conditions just as they appear to his eyes at this captured moment, Skarbina distances himself again from that romantic conception of nature featured, for example, in the exotically over-stylized landscapes by August Kopisch (1799-1853), a painter from Breslau, who discovered the Blue Grotto on Capri in 1826 and who has contributed, ever since then, to the island’s reputation as a place of yearning thanks to his atmospherically-heightened paintings.