Opus 24: Rome, from the Campagna, Sunset, 1867
oil on canvas, 63.5 x 114.6 cm
(25 x 45-1/8 in.)
Thomas Moran painted Rome, from the Campagna, Sunset in his Philadelphia studio in June 1867, one month after returning from his second trip abroad. The time spent in Europe gave Moran the opportunity to study thoroughly actual paintings of artists past and present, and to travel to Italy. Moran produced several sketches within Rome proper, but it was his experience in the Campagna, the pastoral landscape south of the city, that would inspire a dramatic transformation in his work.
Predating Moran’s first trip to the American West by just four years, Rome from the Campagna, Sunset both references the lessons the artist had learned to date and anticipates what is to come. In its sense of light and atmosphere, the cloud-filled sky evokes Turner, Claude, and Corot, artists who inspired Moran.
The dense, detailed foreground recalls the Pre-Raphaelite-influenced forest interiors that Moran painted in the 1860s. But it is the overall conception of space that not only sets this picture apart from his earlier works but makes this painting a telling and potentially unique precursor to the open vistas and monumental expanses of the western landscapes that would be the hallmark of his career.
Purchased directly from the artist in the 1880s(?) by Mr. Joseph Gilbert for $75.00 
Presented as a wedding gift to Sylvia Gilbert, Mr. Gilbert’s daughter, and Arthur Percival Woodward, early 1900s(?)
By descent to their son, Benjamin Woodward
Given to Diana Woodward Stephens, mid-1980s
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 2005
 In the 1860s Moran maintained a written list of his significant works. This record, referred to as the “Opus List,” includes forty-two works. The last entry, which dates to November 1868, is reproduced from the “Opus List” (Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Okla.) as follows: “No. 24. Rome, from the Campagna, Sunset / Painted in June 1867 after return from Europe. Size 25 x 45. Shown at A.F.S. in Feb & March 1868. Sent to Chicago in April 1868. / Returned in July 1868. / [added in purple ink] Afterwards sold to Gilbert for $75.00.” Moran often inscribed the opus number near his signature; it appears on the Timken picture, just after the date.