At the tender age of 17, Johann Martin von Rhoden traveled to Rome, where, barring a few interruptions, he would remain the rest of his life. This painting was done near Subiaco, a small village some 45 miles east of Rome. Above Subiaco, in the rock face of Monte Talèo, lies the Monastery of San Benedetto, which was built starting in the 12th century above the hermit’s cave of Saint Benedict of Nursia. Joseph Anton Koch, who had explored the environs of Rome from 1803 on and who served as an important model for Johann Martin von Rhoden as the foremost Neoclassical landscape painter in Rome, had depicted this view looking up to the monastery (Landscape with Saint Benedict, 1815, Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister, Dresden). Ingeniously directing the light, Rhoden guides the viewer’s gaze from the upper third of the canvas with its idyllic scene of sunlit architecture along the cascading waterfall to the pools of light in the valley, which lies predominately in the shade. An isolated Benedictine monk is absorbed in his reading. A second monk prays before a wayside cross on the mountain path at the right.