- ..Francois de Nome painted many works depicting crumbling ruins revealed by ghostly rays of light. Similar cataclysmic visions were commonplace in the theatrical shows of the time.. De Nome`s constructions are liberally interpreted clusters of antique monuments and Gothic structures. Which Italian city, excluding Milan could boast of so many Gothic monuments as Naples? What other city resided in a climate of permanent anxiety at the foot of Mount Vesuvius? Several Neapolitan artists, including Didier Barra, painted a violent eruption of the volcano in 1631, and it is possible that this eruption inspired De Nome as well, for he depicted collapsing buildings in several works, some of which date to the 1630`s. Naples had a ready clientele patronizing the painters of catastrophe, and de Nome was quickly imitated. His lack of interest in scenes of human activity is proof that de Nome`s true subject matter was ruins. For the most part the actions of the small figures in his scenes remain unclear.. When the action can be deciphered, the message is banal, drawn from the Old and New Testament or from the Iliad. Citation: Sterling Charles, ' A City in Ruins at NIght by Francois de Nome', in Harry Abrams, New York, 1997
- Francois de Nome`s particular technique of applying light touches of relief and flecks of gold here and there endow this architectural painting with a shimmering effect, like a swarm of fireflies. Classical ruins, decorated with ornaments and statues thrust out from the walls and around the columns. Along the fore plane is the martyrdom of a saint co existing with a scene in a state of decay and ruin. In the background is a building which seems to be on fire surrounded by a lot of thick, dark, grey smoke probably related to the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius close to Naples, when it had violently erupted in the 1663. The subject of this painting seems to symbolise the fragility of earthly existence, in line with the religious scenography evident during the Counter Reformation, with its emphasis on the ruination of the world seen through cities, and monumental construction in decay, victims of divine anger.
- Repository/Location: National Museum of Fine Arts (Valletta, Malta)
- : 96 x 73 cm (without frame)
- Baroque [Create]
- 17th century [Create]
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