The Emergence and Evolution of Images of Ancient Roman Architecture in Renaissance and Early Baroque Rome
Knight, Janina M.
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This dissertation is a comprehensive and analytical study of drawings and prints produced by artists and architects between the fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries showing Roman ruins. The unprecedented interest in classical antiquity that emerged in the fifteenth century, which came to define the artistic, architectural, and cultural evolution of the Renaissance, was the catalyst for the production of such ruin-based images, of which thousands of examples survive. Because these drawings and prints were all inspired by and depict Roman ruins, they have often been treated as a single, cohesive genre of image. In this dissertation, however, these ruin-based images are categorized as architectural or archaeological studies, vedute of ruinous land- or cityscapes, architectural treatise and guidebook illustrations, topographical maps, and imaginative reconstructions of antique monuments. They are examined according to distinct criteria such as media, methods of representation, and the different purposes for the creation of said works. As a result, a better understanding of the complexities of early modern antiquarian interests is revealed, especially in regards to the contributions of artists and architects to the early study of ancient architecture. This dissertation addresses how artists and architects were innately fascinated with the architectural remains of ancient Rome, and how the medium of drawing proved to be the ideal method for studying, understanding, and interpreting ruins. The reciprocal relationship between artists, architects, and antiquarians is also addressed with the result that many extant ruin-based images found in museums and art collections throughout the world can now be understood as an integral part of a widespread antiquarian movement that shaped the Renaissance and early Baroque periods, especially in Rome.