Currently on View in Charles O. McGaughey Gallery (H213)
The wild organic growth and crumbling classical architecture seen here are hallmarks of the Picturesque, an artistic concept that originated in 18th-century British landscape painting and design. Such allusions to the passage of time suggest the resilience and beauty of nature. Here, Wilson makes an additional temporal reference in the depiction of the four seasons as allegorical figures dancing in the foreground.
Wilson spent much of the 1750s in Italy, living in both Venice and Rome. Upon his return to England around 1759, he quickly became the preeminent British landscape painter. Wilson’s classical motifs, including the ruined temple in Apollo and the Seasons, likely derived from his studies in Italy.