Victorian Scottish artist David Roberts made two visits to Italy, travelling to Venice in 1851, and to Rome and Naples in 1853. This interior view of St Peter’s in Rome, populated by the devout and the simply curious, shows Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s baldacchino made up of four Solomonic columns at the centre of the composition.
David Roberts, son of a shoemaker from Stockbridge, Edinburgh, began his career at the age of ten as an apprentice to a house painter. On completing his apprenticeship he was employed on the decoration of Scone Palace in Perthshire. He later became a scene painter for James Bannister, who ran a circus in Edinburgh, and at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, before moving to London in 1822, where he turned to easel painting. Roberts exhibited at the British Institution, Society of British Artists and Royal Academy. He is best-known for topographical paintings and illustrations resulting from trips to Spain and the Middle East. He died aged 68 at his home in Fitzroy Street, near Tottenham Court Road, London, and is buried at Norwood Cemetery.
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