My essay intends to demonstrate the significance of the Abruzzi region in Edward Lear’s artistic vision. In particular, it aims to show that, in a certain sense, two contrasting personalities coexisted in Lear, and determined his attitude towards the many places he visited in his horseback excursions of the Abruzzi, a region quite far from the main routes of the Grand Tour. On the one hand, Lear was greatly inspired and fascinated by the landscapes he had the opportunity to admire almost everywhere in the Abruzzi and, as a landscape painter, he responded to this visual experience enthusiastically. On the other hand, as a British traveller, he was shocked to see that the notables he met in Chieti, Villalago, Sulmona and Città Sant’Angelo, lived in old, dilapidated houses with terrible hygienic conditions and pervasive uncleanliness. In this respect, Lear’s attitude seems to oscillate between that of an artist with a romantic view of people and cultures, and a pragmatic Briton who regards his country’s ways as a sort of model for the rest of the world.
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