Johan Christian Clausen Dahl (Bergen 1788 - 1857 Dresden)
A View of Vesuvius from Capodimonte, Naples 1821
Oil on paper, laid down on card, 27 x 25 cm
Dated lower right Jan. 16ten 1821
Private Collection, Copenhagen
As a fully trained landscape painter, Johan Christian Dahl moved from his native Norway to Copenhagen in 1811. There he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts, becoming a pupil of C. A. Lorentzen. His main interest was in seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting and in Eckersberg’s views of Rome. In 1818, he set out on his Grand Tour, which took him to Dresden where he joined artistic circles, making the acquaintance of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich. In the summer of 1820 he traveled from Dresden to Naples via Rome. Upon his return in 1821, he settled permanently in Dresden, living in the same house as Friedrich. He made several visits to Norway in the years 1826, 1834, 1839 and 1859.
From August 11th 1820 to February 1821, Dahl stayed at the invitation of the Danish crown prince Christian Frederik (later King Christian VIII) at the Villa Quisisana in Castellamare, just south of Naples. The villa had been lent to the Danish royal family by King Ferdinand IV of Naples.
Dated Jan.16ten 1821, the present, very lively oil sketch can doubtlessly be related to a group of similar studies executed by the artist during his brief stay at the Villa Quisisana. For Dahl, this was a formative and extremely productive period. As the diary entry for his day of arrival documents, no time was wasted: “I have begun a sketch of the view from my window….”.
In 1823, Dahl executed a larger version of the present sketch with a number of variations. This is now in a private collection in Oslo.
 Catherine Johnston et al., in: exh. cat., Baltic Light - Early Open-Air Painting in Denmark and North Germany, New Haven and London 1999-2000, p. 43.  Exh. cat., J. C. Dahl i Italien 1820 - 1821, Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen 1987.  See, Marie Lødrup Bang, Johan Christian Dahl - Life and Work, Arlöv 1987, vol. 2, p. 101.  Bang 1987, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 147, no. 419; ill. vol. 3, pl. 167.