Caspar Andriaans van Wittel Biography
Dutch painter, known in Italy as Gaspare Vanvitelli. He received his first training at Amersfoort, Holland, although he was in Rome by the time of the Jubilee of 1675. He worked as a draughtsman on a scheme for regulating the Tiber and this probably gave him the idea of making large and very accurate topographical drawings which could be worked up into 'vedute'; he therefore be the link between Dutch topographical painters like van der Heyden and later Italian 'vedutisti'. He is now recognized as an extremely important forerunner of painters like Carlevaris, Canaletto and Pannini, since there are dated Roman vedute by him of 1681.
Wittel went to Venice in the 1690s and there is a dated veduta of 1697 (Prado, Madrid), which antedates Carlevaris. He was in Naples in 1700, when his son Luigi, later the great Neapolitan architect, was born. He spent his last years in Naples and Rome, where he died. He was nicknamed 'Gaspare degli Occhiali' (Gaspar with the spectacles) from at least 1712, and his short sight may have prevented his working after c. 1730. Old sale-catalogues often refer to e.g. 'Two landskip by Ochiali'