Following in the grand tradition of landscape and marine paintings established by Claude Loraine in the 17th century and Claude Joseph Vernet among others in the 18th century. Pietro Della Valle concentrated on classical landscapes with a great appreciation for the fine detail and close study of light. His later years after 1850 were the pinnacle of his career. This painting was completed circa 1857, and is most probably in the environs of Naples.
His formative years in the 1840’s were spent working for a print maker, meanwhile painting watercolours in his free time. In 1849 he exhibited at the Accademia de Belle Arti de Brera in Milan, where he had been studying. The exhibition was well received and the success prompted his career as a full time artist. Travelling in his native Italy he sought the great landscapes and marine scenes of the great Grand Tour artists.
This oil on canvas classical harbour scene painting is one of two known by Pietro Della Valle. The other was recently sold by Richard Redding Antiques. The port scene is identical in many ways (including dimensions) with plenty of variations on close inspection.
Our marine harbour scene is captured in the evening, the tide is out, the sun low. Many of the same figures are in both compositions. Their interactions are unique to each painting. The Richard Redding painting is depicted in fuller sun, late afternoon with the tide in, the sun is higher and accordingly the light is brighter. It would surely make an interesting companion piece.
Pietro Della Valle is also world famous for some of the finest table tops in scagliola. Here is a link to one such at Christie’s with a similar coastal scene.