Landscape with the portal to the cella of the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek is a watercolour belonging, like the Sphinx before it, to the multi-volume project Voyage pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phénicie, de la Palestine et de la Basse-Égypte. Baalbek, a holy temple district in the the Beqaa plain, had been one of the typical stops on oriental journeys by Europeans since the mid 18th century. Cassas here depicts a part of the temple as a classical ruin surrounded by imaginatively exaggerated vegetation. The keystone of the arch, which seems about to fall, adds a dramatic effect.
Louis François Cassas (1756–1827), Landschaft mit dem Portal der Cella des Bacchustempels in Baalbek (Landscape with the portal to the cella of the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek), pen and ink/watercolour, 1793; source: © Albertina, Wien, Inv. 15354, www.albertina.at.