The Forum, Romanum, ItalyArtist:
, Italian, 1854 - 1931
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 305 x 405mm
Support: 209 x 288mm
Accession Number: CGSG00611
Alessandri was sent to paint in Rome by Ruskin during 1881. He wanted Alessandri to make copies of frescoes in the Sistine Chapel by Botticelli and Perugino, but a mutual friend, Giacomo Boni, may have inspired Alessandri to paint the Forum too. Boni had been responsible for conserving buildings in Venice in a respectful way and now was supervising an archaeological dig at the Forum.
Ruskin wrote that this unfinished study was 'of exquisite truth and beauty’.
Nevertheless, Ruskin disliked classical architecture and rarely spoke admiringly of any buildings in Rome. In particular he referred to the Forum as 'a good group of smashed columns, just what, if it were got up, as it very easily might be, at Virginia Water [ a London suburb], we should call a piece of humbug-the kind of thing that one is sick to death of in "compositions".'