Olevano Albert Bierstadt Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Olevano was painted by Albert Bierstadt in around 1856–57. Olevano Romano, Lazio is a region of Italy, around 45km east of the its capital, Rome. The artist travelled around Europe from the US in search of new landscapes for his work, though he remains most famous for his depictions of the American West.

This painting features a dense Italian town which lines up steep valley deep in the countryside. Bierstadt carefully crafts the scene to include many levels of depth to the perspective, something that he became particularly famous for. Notice in the foreground how he adds shrubery which lines the hill, and a tree which provides a vertical frame. It actually continues off the top of the canvas, but either side we find elements of Olevano then appearing from the far distance. The town is entirely historic, with tall buildings adapted to their surroundings, trying to sneak out above each other. Beyond that we find rows of mountains, though relatively flat in comparison to most of this artist's depictions of the American West. To the right hand side we find further architecture with a tower peering over the surrounding landscape.

The artist would travel around Europe on various trips as he sought to re-connect with the continent in which he was originally born. Whilst he adored the US the most, he continued to seek new landscapes that could bring new interest to his work. By now he was entirely committed to this genre, rarely focusing on any type of art. One can imagine that within the Italian landscape he would have witnessed new plants, a slighly different climate, new atmospheric effects and, of course, an entirely different architecture and people. From his interest in the native Indians, Bierstadt was always open to embracing new peoples and new environments.

This painting can today be found in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum in the US, and it is in this country that Bierstadt continues to receive the most interest. Classic artworks such as Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Quiet Lake and Half Dome Yosemite Valley helped to bring the beauty of the American landscape to an international audience for the first time. He also convinced many Europeans of the merits of the artists in the US who were now starting to create new art movements for the first time that might rival their counterparts across the pond. If we move forward several centuries, we can now see how this progression has led to New York perhaps being the art capital of the world, and the country more generally also hosting many of the finest art galleries and museums in the world, including the Saint Louis Art Museum.