Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

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Purpose:Italy: Pozzuoli: Arco Felice. View of the ruined Arco Felice between Cuma and Paesani, with the remains of an aqueduct above it and a pathway below. 




Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Arco felicie Baia; in ink 31

Dated/date range

Undated, probably 1755.


Pencil, grey, blue and brown washes

203 x 311


Pro patria


Charles-Louis Clérisseau


Adam vol.57/31


This drawing attributed to Charles-Louis Clérisseau, and that by Robert Adam in Adam vol.57/32, depict views of the Arco Felice between Cuma and the Lago del Fusaro, both drawn from almost the same spot. The composition by Clérisseau is possibly the better and more dramatic, making greater play between the constructed arch and the ruined and overgrown side walls and contrasting shadows. Both drawings may be compared with a contemporary view by Giovanni Battista Natali (1698-1765), engraved in Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.XLV, which shows considerably more detail of the structure of the arch and its setting.

The Arco Felice was of brick construction, 63 feet in height, and spanned a hollow with an aqueduct above; it was built in the 3rd century AD by the Emperor Diocletian.

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24 11 2006

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