The Entrance to the Grotto of Posillipo
  • Friedrich Horner
  • Basel 1800 - 1864
  • The Entrance to the Grotto of Posillipo
  • Watercolour over pencil, on paper,
    partly covered with gum arabic,
  • signed with pen and black ink lower middle: F. Horner. f
  • 374 × 289 mm
Gallery Joseph Fach, Frankfurt/Main 1980,
cat. 18, no. 20 (ill.)
private collection Southern Germany

In 1822, the young Friedrich Horner travelled for the first time to Italy and was at once fascinated by the classical landscape as well as the omnipresent remains of ancient grandeur. In numerous views, above all from the area around Naples, he succeeded more than almost anyone else at capturing these ideal effects and the moody atmosphere of the southern light. With only a few intervening travels, Horner stayed true to his new home, first in Naples, and then from 1838 in Rome, until the revolutionary upheavals of 1848 forced him to return to Switzerland.

The grotto of Posillipo, also called the Crypta Napolitana, is actually a slender, high-walled tunnel, 711 meters in length, that was driven through the hill of Posillipo under Emperor Augustus (63 BC to 14 AD) as part of a coastal road providing a better connection between Naples and the Phlegraean Fields. This masterpiece of Roman engineering impressed visitors from antiquity into the nineteenth century, and its entrance, like the mouth of Hades, inspired countless artists as a spectacular subject.

This sheet has been accepted by Johannes Fichter in catalogue of the artist’s work.