The term ‘Arcadia’ derived from the Greek province of the same name which dates to antiquity. This area’s mountainous topography and pastoral nature later caused the word to be synonymous for an idyllic vision of unspoiled wilderness.
In this fabulous landscape, we receive a scene of bountiful natural splendour and harmony. Indeed, the notion of the ‘Arcadia’ was often associated with the habitation of shepherds, as seen here in the bottom left of the foreground. The image we are presented here clearly presents us with utopian ideals that echos the perfectionism of the Garden of Eden.
This painting is a wonderful example of Tavella’s ability to lure the viewer into a distant world and make that world seem welcoming and familiar. In a gentle wooded setting reminiscent of the hills of the Roman Campagna, shepherds and couples go about there lives. They are surrounded by imposing trees whose foliage creates a rich play with the light clouds and the changing hues of the sky. Against the aqua blue that saturates the sky, these humble figures gain a simple dignity. Everything in this tranquil setting exudes a feeling of well-being. Although the human figures are dwarfed by the majestic trees, man and nature seem to exist in perfect harmony.