Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Views of Rome: Anteiquae Urbis Imago

Views of Rome: Anteiquae Urbis Imago


Views of Rome is the online home of the 1773 edition of Pirro Ligorio’s Anteiquae Urbis Imago (Image of the Ancient City) held at Emory University. Originally published in 1561, the Imago is a cartographic reconstruction of fourth-century AD Rome. A high-resolution scan of the map exists as an interactive digital tool for use by students in the classroom and by members of the general public.

The Map

Anteiquae Urbis Imago (Image of the Ancient City), Pirro Ligorio, 1561
Published by Michele Tramezzino, republished 1773 by Carlo Losi
132.1 x 152.4 cm (52 x 60 inches)
Michael C. Carlos Museum 2007.35.1
Available at MARBL, Emory Library Catalog Call No. G6714 .R7 L53 1773 FOLIO

The Anteiquae Urbis Imago represents the culmination of Ligorio’s considerable knowledge and skill as an antiquarian, architect, and artist. Like its immediate predecessors, most notably Leonard Bufalini’s 1551 map of modern Rome, the Imago is oriented such that north is to the left. Ligorio drew upon ancient literary testimony, coins, inscriptions, reliefs, and archaeological remains in order to locate and give form to the structural inhabitants of the ancient city. The map is a visual manifestation of his arguments concerning these matters of topography and original appearance, employing bird’s eye perspective as a means of illustration. The map is also a reflection of Ligorio’s antiquarian interest in exhibiting the city to his audience as a restored whole. That is to say that Ligorio extrapolated the evidence at his disposal in order to account for missing information, preferring to fill in the blank spaces rather than represent a city of fragmented parts.
Selected Bibliography:  D. Coffin, Pirro Ligorio: The Renaissance Artist, Architect and Antiquarian, with a Checkist of Drawings (University Park 2004); J. Connors, Piranesi and the Campus Martius: The Missing Corso. Topography and Archaeology in Eighteenth-Century Rome (Milan 2011) 57-60; R. Gaston, Pirro Ligorio: Artist and Antiquarian (Milan 1988); E. R. Varner (forthcoming 2013).

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