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This superb nineteenth-century oil on canvas painting of the Neapolitan school depicts a scene of pilgrimage. The site of pilgrimage is the Sanctuary of La Madonna dell’Arco, near Naples, and the pilgrims portrayed in the painting are on their return home. The subject was a popular one during the nineteenth century. Perhaps the most celebrated example is ‘The Pilgrimage of the Madonna of the Arch’ by Louis Léopold Robert, which was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1827 to great acclaim and subsequently acquired by Louis Philippe for the State collection.
The present painting depicts various men, women, and children atop and around a cart pulled by two oxen. The figures celebrate their successful pilgrimage, and the mood of the scene is one of joy. The group is situated in a low landscape with faint distant hills along the horizon. The sun sets, rendering the sky pink and the casting the figures in a sympathetic light that accentuates and models their forms. The manner of execution is fine, with delicate brushstrokes employed by the artist.
The painting, apparently unsigned, is contained within a carved giltwood frame.
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