Jeffrey Smart

Stop 20 of 32

A large empty road bridge rises up covering the lower left hand two thirds of the painting. A truck can just be seen cresting the hill, and two small figures walk along the side, half way up. A row of three apartment buildings peek out to the right, in front of a dark sky.

Jeffrey Smart
Approach to a city III

Creation date: 1968

Approach to a city III
1968 Rome, Italy
oil on canvas
66 x 81 cm
Private collection, courtesy of Smith & Singer Fine Art
© The Estate of Jeffrey Smart


The autostrade—modern highways built for high-speed traffic—provided Jeffrey Smart with open-ended metaphors for travelling through space and time. He wrote in his autobiography: ‘Italy was even more scenic from the autostrada – no hoardings were permitted; the only signs were those needed for the traffic and I found them beautiful, they were so well designed. That first journey took less than two hours and it was an exhilarating experience … We take autostradas for granted now. But the Italian autostrada, now stretching the entire length of the peninsula, and the RAI Television, have together done more to unite Italy than Mazzini, Cavour or Garibaldi.’