Arts & Culture

Distant View of Maecenas' Villa, Tivoli

Richard WilsonAround 1756

Tate Britain
Tate Britain

This is the Villa of Maecenas in Tivoli, near Rome. Maecenas had been one of the greatest Roman patrons of the arts. This made him a subject of great interest to eighteenth-century art collectors.But he was also perceived as the personification of decadent luxury. The ruins of his villa therefore embodied both a high point of classical civilisation and the cause of its collapse. So this poetic landscape held a moral lesson for the contemporary viewer.

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