Hendrick Frans van Lint

Rome: the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini on the Tiber

Oil on canvas: 18(h) x 28.5(w) in /

45.7(h) x 72.4(w) cm

Signed and dated lower centre: H F. van Lint. Ft. / Roma .1730.

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SP 5439



Antwerp 1684 – 1763 Rome


Rome: the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini on the Tiber


Signed and dated lower centre: H F. van Lint. Ft. / Roma .1730.

Oil on canvas: 18 x 28 ½ in / 45.7 x 72.4 cm

Frame size: 25 ½ x 36 in / 64.8 x 91.4 cm



Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, circa 1968;

from whom acquired by a private collector, UK



A Busiri Vici, Peter, Hendrik e Giacomo van Lint, Rome 1987, pp.80-1, no.66, illus.



Born in Antwerp and settling in Rome around 1703, Hendrik Frans van Lint initially worked in the studio of Gaspar van Wittel (1652/4-1736) and, like his master, brought northern delicacy of execution and radiant light to views of the Eternal City. This painting is inspired by one of van Lint’s most brilliant compositions, which exists in a number of versions both in tempera[1] and oils[2], made between c.1685 and 1719. It depicts the bend of the Tiber opposite the Vatican City, which is out of sight on the right.


Van Lint’s view is less panoramic and more intimate, taken from closer to the river, with San Giovanni dei Fiorentini rising elegantly from the opposite bank, as three gentlemen chat under a tree in the foreground. The church was commissioned in 1518 by the Medici Pope Leo X for the Piazza dell’Oro, then the centre of the Florentine colony in Rome, and dedicated to the Florentines’ patron saint, St George. This painting of 1730 shows the bare western façade, before the addition in 1733-34 of Alessandro Galilei’s baroque façade under the patronage of the Florentine Pope Clement XII Corsini[3]. To the left of the church is a group of buildings which includes the Florentine Consulate.


The wooden building in shadow on the left is one of the floating flour mills, the mole dei fiorentini, whose memory still survives in the name of a nearby street, the Via delle Mole dei Fiorentini. Also depicted by van Wittel, the mills were anchored to the shore and protected from the rise of the Tiber during floods by long chains fastened to the quayside. In the centre of the river are remnants of the Neronian Bridge.


Van Lint exploits the calm of the Tiber on a sunny day to present a splendid line of ochre and white buildings in Trastevere, delicately reflected in the river. Directly across the river from San Giovanni is Palazzo Salviati, an early work of Giulio Romano and originally the home of Leo X’s chamberlain, Filippo Adimari. Beyond are the gardens and terraces of the houses of the Lungara. Behind rise the wooded slopes of the Gianicolo, with San Pietro in Montorio on the crest. The three gentlemen in the foreground, deep in conversation, give the sense of modern Rome’s inheritance of the intellectual vigour of the Renaissance. Exquisitely delineated and providing a bright focus of local colour, they are, as Busiri Vici comments, an example of van Lint’s figure groups at their highest quality[4].   




Antwerp 1684 – 1763 Rome



The son of the Flemish history painter Pieter van Lint (1609-1690), Hendrik travelled to Rome in the early eighteenth century, possibly in 1703, after studying in his home town of Antwerp with Pieter van Bredael. In Rome he probably entered the workshop of the famous vedutista Gaspar van Wittel (1652/4-1736), himself just back from Naples; although back in Antwerp for a short time in 1710, Van Lint settled in the Eternal City and was soon known as Monsù Studio, after his Bentvueghels nickname. His first known works as a landscape and view painter date from 1711, and established Van Lint as one of the leading artists in both fields. Apart from the typical Grand Tour, iconic places such as Colosseo and Campo Vaccino, his many subjects include lesser monuments on the Roman consular ways, the Christian Basiliche outside the city walls and villages in the surrounding countryside, all portrayed within large landscape foregrounds. A few of his subjects, namely views of Naples and of Piazza del Popolo in Rome, are based on Van Wittel models, even in size and proportions.


As a landscape painter, Van Lint found an important reference in Claude Lorrain’s work, which in some cases he actually copied. Van Lint’s work in both fields was collected by all Roman noble families, starting with the Colonna and the Rospigliosi, as well as by foreign travellers on their Grand Tour. His realistic views are based upon carefully drawn preparatory studies, the most significant group now in Berlin, Kupferstichkbinett, from the collection of the sculptor Vincenzo Pacetti who, in his turn, had bought the collection of his master, the famous Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, whose inventory (1799) included five volumes of view and landscape drawings.


Dr Ludovica Trezzani

[1] The temperas are dated between 1713 and 1719. See London, Robilant & Voena, Vanvitelli: Gaspar Van Wittel, 2008, exh. cat. by Laura Laureati, pp.56-58, under no.12.

[2] Six oils and two temperas are listed in G Briganti, Gaspar van Wittel, rev. edn. by L Laureati and L Trezzani, Milan 1996, pp.187-191, no.154-161.

[3] A painting by van Lint in a Roman private collection depicts the new façade; see Busiri Vici, op. cit., p.80, no.65, illus. in colour.

[4] Busiri Vici, p.80.

Old MasterHendrick Frans van Lint