The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

“Rhodes Memorial” by Pieter Wenning

Pieter Wenning - Rhodes Memorial - Google Art Project

Rhodes Memorial by Pieter Wenning

“Rhodes Memorial” by Pieter Wenning shows the Rhodes Memorial on Devil’s Peak in Cape Town, South Africa, which is a memorial to the South African politician Cecil John Rhodes (1853–1902). The artist, Wenning was a South African painter considered to be the progenitor of the style of Cape Impressionism. Wenning excelled at the quiescent landscape, nature at rest.

The memorial is situated at one of Rhodes’s favourite spots on the slopes of Devil’s Peak.  The magnificent view may have stirred Rhodes vision to champion the Cape to Cairo road, which was Rhodes’s grand imperial dream of a British colonial Africa for which Rhodes was its greatest champions. Rhodes owned vast areas of the lower slopes of Table Mountain, most of which he gave to the nation on his death. Part of his estate was used for the University of Cape Town upper campus, part is now the Botanical Gardens.

Rhode memorial (1 of 1)

Today’s view of the Rhodes Memorial which sits on the side of Devils Peak Mountain above the University of Cape Town.

Pieter Wenning method was to complete a work en plein air and with his subject before him, however, he also prepared carefully beforehand as evidenced by his large number of studies, sketches and unfinished drawings, he left behind. The freshness and delicate atmospheric qualities of his best works were achieved by significantly detailed preparation.

Rhodes Memorial

  • Title:                    Rhodes Memorial
  • Artist:                  Pieter Wenning
  • Date:                    1916
  • Medium:              Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:        H: 355 mm (13.98 in). W: 460 mm (18.11 in).
  • Museum:              Iziko South African National Gallery

George Stubbs

  • Artist:                   Pieter Willem Frederick Wenning
  • Born:                    1873 – The Hague, Netherlands
  • Died:                    1921 (aged 47) – Pretoria, South Africa
  • Nationality:        Dutch, South African
  • Movement:         Cape Impressionism
  • Notable Works:
    • Rhodes Memorial


“Nobody is born wise.” African proverb



Photo Credits: 1)By Pieter Wenning (1873 – 1921) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By JasonSmuts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons