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Sepulchral Remains in the Campagna near Rome

John Robert Cozens, the son of the drawing master Alexander Cozens, was never content with straight topographical views. He sought, instead, with a limited palette and simple, bold compositions, to capture the beauty and power of nature. Considered the most poetic of the British watercolorists, Cozens imbued this drawing of an architectural ruin (probably the Torre di Schiavi) in the Roman Campagna with a heroic grandeur by silhouetting it against a glowing sky. The inclusion of a sleeping shepherd suggests the time of day and provides a picturesque pastoral reference. Cozens traveled to Italy in 1782, where he made numerous on the spot sketches. His elegant atmospheric landscapes influenced Romantic artists, such as
J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Girtin, who copied his drawings.

John Robert Cozens
English, 1752–1797
Sepulchral Remains in the Campagna near Rome
ca. 1782–83
Watercolor over graphite on paper
Image/sheet: 10 3/8 x 14 3/4 in. (26.4 x 37.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Dedicated to Louis Hays Professor of Fine Arts, in recognition of his contributions to the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 76.17