|Published||Rossini dis. e inc. Roma 1819|
|Dimensions||Image 432 x 337 mm, Plate 451 x 358 mm, Sheet 589 x 484 mm|
Plate 77 from Le Antichita Romane, ossia Raccolta della piu interessanti Vedute di Roma Antica, depicting the interior of the Colosseum, taken from one of the principal entrances of the monument. In the foreground are two heavily-robed figures, probably members of the religious order that occupied a section of the monument's arcaded vaults until the mid-nineteenth century. In the distance a group of figures, possibly more members of the same order, congregate to the left of a large crucifix in the centre of the arena.
The colosseum was one of the most popular sights in the city of Rome for grand tourists, and demand for views of the monument was high. The overgrown ruins were dramatically picturesque, and the colosseum's history appealed as much to Christian pilgrims as it did to antiquarians. Constructed under the Flavian emperors Vespasian and Titus in the 1st century AD, the colosseum was the city's largest gladiatorial amphitheatre. The monument fell into ruin following the decline of the games after the ban on pagan festivals imposed by Theodosius at the end of the 4th century AD. It was gradually stripped of its facing marble, which was reused on many of the Renaissance-era structures in the city of Rome.
Le Antichita Romane, ossia Raccolta della piu interessanti Vedute di Roma Antica was Rossini's largest series of engravings, and the most popular with his clients. The 101 plates of views of the remains of Ancient Rome were completed between 1819 and 1823. The influence of Piranesi and the other great etchers of the 18th century is immediately apparent when looking at Rossini's work. In some cases, Rossini's perspectives match almost exactly those executed by Piranesi in the previous century, with an equal attention to architectural detail. As a result, the viewer is provided with a fascinating record of the changes wrought on Rome's most famous monuments in the time between the two artists.
Luigi Rossini (1790-1857) was an Italian painter and etcher. Born in Ravenna, he studied art and architecture at the Academy of Bologna with Antonio Giuseppe Basoli and Giovanni Antonio Antolini. He graduated in 1813. Similarly to Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Rossini is best known for etchings of classical Roman architecture including the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Appian Way, the Temple of Peace, and the Golden House of Nero. Rossini was also influenced by more rural settings, and produced etchings of the landscape surrounding Rome. His first series of views were published in 1814. He began his Roman antiquities series in 1819, completing 101 large folio plates which were published in Rome in 1825.
Condition: Slight foxing to sheet and image. Large crease to top left corner of margin, not affecting image. Otherwise good strong, clean impression. 'T.77' inscribed in bottom right corner.