Hoüel, Jean-Pierre-Laurent (1735-1813)

View of the Rocks on the Third Cyclopes Island

France, between 1776 and 1779

Houel is best known as the author of preparatory sketches and engravings with an explanatory text to the four-volume publication A Picturesque Voyage Through the Isles of Sicily, Malta and Lipari, Which Deals with the Antiquities to Still Be Found There, the Principal Phenomena Offered by Nature, the Costume of the Inhabitants, and Some Customs... (Voyage pittoresque des isles de Sicile, de Malte et de Lipari... ; Paris, 1782-87). The Hermitage possesses 264 of over 500 sketches Houel produced during his four-year tour of Southern Italy between 1776 and 1779. These works are of unique historical and ethnographical value. Houel's works reveal him to have been not only a talented artist but also a historian, ethnographer and geologist. In this particular work Houel carefully reproduced all the specific characteristics of basalt cliffs, standing out clearly against the blue sky and sea, whilst in the foreground he showed the local inhabitants busy at fishing. Based on his own observations and on detailed questioning of the fishermen themselves, Houel depicted the different means used to capture the local varieties of fish - tunny, sardines, anchovies and mullet.


View of the Rocks on the Third Cyclopes Island




gouache, outlined with brush in black wash


28,5x42 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1781; purchased from the artist for Empress Catherine II by F.M. Grimm

Inventory Number: