Federico del Campo was perhaps the finest painter of Venetian scenes in the late 19th century. Born in Lima, a patron sent del Campo to study in Europe to be educated in Paris. He subsequently studied in Madrid with the artist Lorenzo Valles before travelling widely throughout Italy. During these trips he became fascinated with Venice, and by 1880 had begun to exhibit scenes of the city as far afield as Paris and Madrid.
Venice had become an increasingly-fashionable place to visit largely due to the allure of the ‘Grand Tour’, undertaken predominantly by young wealthy men as an educational rite of passage, with a visit to ‘La Serenissima’ an unmissable treat. Whilst in Venice, the well-heeled visitors would take the opportunity to buy goods unavailable back home to show off to their friends when they returned. Paintings of the city were particularly sought-after and del Campo’s stunningly-detailed scenes proved to be hugely popular.
Although del Campo painted in several locations including South America, Naples, Sicily and Capri, it is his Venetian paintings that are still particularly prized today. The sparkling palette, technical mastery, and exquisite detail are what make his paintings immediately attractive, but where del Campo showed particular superiority to his contemporaries was the depiction of figures in his work. The inclusion of tourists and locals surrounded by the unmistakable grandeur of Venice gave the paintings a lifelike quality that was unmatched by his competitors.