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Still life of fruit and a pie on a table

The Royal Collection has a stunning collection of seventeenth century Dutch art

Johannes Lingelbach (Frankfurt 1622-Amsterdam 1674)

Figures before a Locanda, with a View of the Piazza del Popolo, Rome c.1645-50

RCIN 404534

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This is a classic Bamboccianti scene, depicting Romans at their least charming. During his first years in Rome, Lingelbach lodged in this very street; had he chosen the locanda (hostel) depicted here, he would have had to pick his way through a variety of street traders. Even the hostel door is barred by a blind musician playing a guitar while a boy sings and a suspicious young woman loiters. The armed man with his hat drawn over his eyes is even more sinister.

The setting here can be recognised from contemporary topographical sketches, and shows a road, square, walls and gate, all of which date from Roman times. As in views of the Forum, this painting highlights a contrast between the former glory of Rome and the disrepute of the then present.