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Landscape from Olevano, to the right a self-portrait, c. 1823
Oil on wood. 35,3 x 47,7 cm
Inventory number: B127
In contrast to Koch’s usual motifs, this painting is of a specific landscape: the mountains to the east of Rome with the town of Olevano in the middle distance. Also specific – as the title suggests – is Koch himself. With a pipe in his mouth and a staff in his hand, he is coming into sight across a ridge on the right of the painting. The background to his rather surprisingly appearance, which does not quite harmonise with the picturesque nature of this bucolic scene otherwise, is that in 1806 Koch had married a woman by the name of Cassandra Ranaldi, who came from Olevano.
Thorvaldsen and Koch were close friends. Between 1800 and 1803 they even shared lodgings, and when things looked bleak for the often financially oppressed Koch, Thorvaldsen provided help by commissioning a painting from him. It might be imagined here that Thorvaldsen has commissioned this picture and asked Koch to introduce a self-portrait.