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Drawing - Voyage Pittoresque et Historique de l'Istrie et de la Dalmatie
  • Voyage Pittoresque et Historique de l'Istrie et de la Dalmatie
    Cassas, Louis-François, born 1756 - died 1827
  • Enlarge image

Voyage Pittoresque et Historique de l'Istrie et de la Dalmatie

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Croatia (probably, drawn)
    Paris (published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1782 (drawn)
    1802 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cassas, Louis-François, born 1756 - died 1827 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Ashbee Bequest

  • Museum number:

    1887-1900

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 114

A watercolour depicting the large falls of the Krka river above the town of Scardona, this drawing is from a series of original drawings by Louis François Cassas which were later engraved and published in Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Istrie et de la Dalmatie in 1802. A skilled draughtsman and a painter of picturesque landscapes, Cassas is famous for his travel drawings, most often including classical monuments. His drawings are credited as playing a major role in disseminating classical architecture around the world and as influencing the Neo-Classical architectural movement in the early 19th century.

Physical description

Original watercolour drawing to illustrate 'Voyage Pittoresque et Historique de l'Istrie et de la Dalmatie'.

Place of Origin

Croatia (probably, drawn)
Paris (published)

Date

ca. 1782 (drawn)
1802 (published)

Artist/maker

Cassas, Louis-François, born 1756 - died 1827 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 15 in, Width: 9 in

Historical context note

Done as part of a group of drawings, this watercolour depicts the waterfalls in the river Krka above the town of Scardona, Croatia. The drawing was done as part of a group which was commissioned to show a series of views of the Dalmatian and Istrian coast including historical monuments, ruins, and landscapes.

The commission for this series of works was given to Cassas by a group of amateurs under the patronage of Emperor Joseph II in 1872. Probably started en plein air and then finished at a later time, the drawings were not engraved until much later under the direction of chief engraver François Denis Née (1732-1817). Cassas was known to create an under-drawing with sepia while at the site and would then add watercolour and ink detailing over the sketch at a later time. He used this technique in the creation of his other travel series from his journeys to Constantinople, the Middle East, Asia Minor, and the Greek Isles.

The drawing is an original for an etching found in Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Istrie et de la Dalmatie, complied by J. Lavallée and published in two volumes in 1802. It was published as plate number 30. In the plate descriptions at the back of the book it states that the large fall is very near a small island. The book has a total of 69 plates, 61 of them views engraved after Cassas’ watercolours, several of which are in the V&A collection. Alongside the etchings, the book’s text details the history of Istria and Dalmatia and also gives an account of the sites, much of which was taken from Cassas’ travel journals.

Known for his travel drawings, such as this one, which were later engraved and published in books, Cassas’ style as an illustrator was admired in his lifetime as being true to life and lacking in personal emotion creating an ideal documentation. He did however often add foliage and lush vegetation to his images of ruins as a way of satisfying the longing for an intensely classical age. This coincides with the 18th century belief that nature was ideal, especially when removed from the influences of civilization. In addition to bare landscapes, his drawings were often inhabited by figures. Trained as an ethnologist and archaeologist, he was believed to inspire the Neo-Classical style of architecture in the early 19th century.

Descriptive line

Louis François Cassas, The Falls of the Kerka above Scardona in Dalmatia. Original drawing for illustration to "Voyage Pittoresque et Historique de l'Istrie et de la Dalmatie"
French School

Materials

Watercolour

Techniques

Drawing

Subjects depicted

Travel

Categories

Drawings; Illustration

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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