Jakob Philip Hackert achieved international recognition with his highly finished Italian landscapes, which ally the classical ideal with topographical and archaeological accuracy. Goethe, his friend and biographer, praised the "sureness and clarity" of his drawings.
Using the opaque medium of gouache, Hackert made the irregular walls and weathered surfaces of this Roman temple, southeast of Rome, almost tangible. The diagonal composition leads the gaze to the right, thereby inviting us on a journey. Hackert probably captured this view on his way to or from Naples, where he was employed at the local court.