2023 SCSC Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD
IAS-Sponsored Session

Antiquarianism and the Image of Rome II

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 3:30-5:00 PM

Chair: Jessica Maier, Mount Holyoke College

Organizer: Jasmine R. Cloud, University of Central Missouri

Organizer: Catharine Wallace, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

The juxtaposition of modern Rome with the vestiges of its lengthy history still stirs the spirit of twenty first-century visitors, just as it did Petrarch, Poggio Bracciolini, and Raphael. Representing this lived experience occupied early modern writers and artists across media, from paintings to spatial reconstructions. Antiquarians frequently relied upon visualizations of the city, whether in drawn city views or printed maps. The artists who depicted Rome’s urban form looked to the work of antiquarians to bolster the authority of their representations. This artistic and intellectual culture resulted in many figures occupying both categories of study, including Baldassare Peruzzi, Sebastiano Serlio, and Pirro Ligorio. This trio of sessions will examine images of Rome, in ink, print, and marble, with a special consideration of their role in antiquarianism: as purveyors of all’antica knowledge, in their roles establishing a fixed image of antiquarian discovery, and as collectibles for those seeking their own memento of the Eternal City’s long history. For scholars today, exploration of these images through digital technologies continues the work of our early modern protagonists by visualizing the city and providing twenty-first-century access to the complexity of Rome’s long history. The papers in these sessions will consider the production of such images, connections with classical texts, antiquarian values, and the multiplicity of Rome’s pasts. Presenting a variety of methodologies, including three digital projects related to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century views of Rome, these sessions will illustrate the complexity of reviving and re-inventing the past in the construction of an early modern Roman identity.


Braden Lee Scott, Bibliotheca Hertziana-Max Planck Institute for Art History
“Little Story, Big Picture: Maarten van Heemskerck and Hieronymus Cock as Architects of Empire”

Maarten van Heemskerck’s landscape of ancient Roman ruins, with a small depiction of the story of Saint Jerome, is an enigmatic painting. Believed to be lost until recently, the painting has incited little interpretation in modern art historical studies. The few twentieth-century studies that touched on the painting from 1547 accessed it through a replicative print, made by Hieronymus Cock five years later in 1552. Why, scholars have wondered, would van Heemskerck and Cock have privileged Rome’s architecture so prominently in the composition, and allocated only a small space on the lower left for Jerome? Surely, as pictures of a saint, they invite a mode of reception where a spectator is meant to interpret the painting and print through Jerome’s hagiography. But I contend that there may have also been a more engaged kind of spectator—one who saw the Hieronymite ruinscape as part of the visual culture associated with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V’s conquest of Africa in 1535, and the processions along the coasts of Sicily and Italy in 1536 where the emperor entered cities in triumph as Carolus Africanus. Based on circumstances of facture, this paper aims to account for the magnificent presence of ancient Roman architecture and argues that van Heemskerck’s and Cock’s ruinscapes were inextricable from the commemorative commissions, a little over a decade later, that glorified Charles’ imperial ambitions in Africa. Replicating ruins from the Roman Forum, the first stage of the imperial triumph in the eternal city, elicited the big picture.

Sarah Cantor, Lindenwood University
“Landscapes all'antica: Gaspard Dughet and Antiquarian Circles in Seventeenth-Century Rome”

Antiquarian and artistic interest in ancient fresco paintings reached a pinnacle in Rome in the seventeenth century as new discoveries were unearthed during excavations around the city. Scholars, such as Cassiano dal Pozzo and Giovanni Pietro Bellori, and artists like Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain analyzed every recently exposed fresco, producing treatises cataloguing each work and possible meanings, and incorporating imagery into contemporary paintings. Poussin was remarkably adept at blending classical themes into his highly innovative and modern works, and his patrons celebrated his ability to rival the glory of the ancients. Poussin, however, was not the only artist who accomplished this feat. Gaspard Dughet, his pupil and brother-in-law, also created paintings that emulated antiquity in an inventive manner. In this talk, I argue that Dughet’s engagement with ancient frescoes surpasses that of his master and other contemporary artists. Beyond the integration of iconographical elements, Dughet understood the mechanical aspects of frescos through his study of unearthed examples and his engagement with dal Pozzo’s Museo Cartaceo. His landscapes thus relate to ancient paintings both through technical analysis as he strove to replicate the surface texture and finish, and through iconographical assimilation as he employed motifs in ways that evidence his understanding of the scholarly discussion of ancient paintings. Such references to antiquity in both technique and iconography elevate Dugeht’s paintings to more than simple pastoral images, transforming them into visual metaphors on the connection between ancient Rome and the contemporary landscape, as well as on the significance of nature itself.

Peter Lukehart, Matthew J. Westerby, and Fulvia Zaninelli, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts
“Digital Itineraries in Rome: Annotating Early Modern Guidebooks for The History of the Accademia di San Luca, c. 1590–1635”

Early modern guidebooks flourished in 17th-century Rome alongside the phenomenon of tourist travelers, including pilgrims or noblemen following the Grand Tour. Guidebooks served the learned and the curious equally while chronicling the evolution of the Eternal City’s urban fabric. Through guidebooks, different aspects of the city meld together according to the order in which the sites (pagan, sacred, or secular) present themselves to the visitor. In doing so, these texts bear witness to the increased interest in secular Rome as an object of importance equal to the ancient city and seemingly responding to the emergence of antiquarianism.

This paper will focus on the process and the benefits of digital annotations, where layered historical information is presented simultaneously in an intuitive and concise way. Focusing on a collection of twelve Roman guidebooks at the National Gallery of Art Library annotated and shared on the project website for The History of the Accademia di San Luca, c. 1590–1653: Documents from the Archivio di Stato di Roma, it will highlight two case studies that witness the intertwining of the sacred and profane in the context of the papal State: the Palazzo Altemps in Montecavallo, built on the site of the Baths of Constantine; and the Church of Santi Luca e Martina in the Roman Forum, similarly built on the ruins of what was believed to be the Roman Secretarium Senatus for the Curia Senatus (also known as the Curia Julia) and subsequently became the “find spot” for the remains of early Christian saints.

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