October 2, 2006
Rome: Maps and monuments of the Enternal City
The poet Horace, writing during the reign of the emperor Augustus (27 BC–14 AD), boasted that he had completed “a monument more lasting than bronze” (Ode iii.30). Although he was speaking of the immortality of his own literary works, Horace’s words also hold true for the architectural legacy of imperial Rome, whose magnificence, though weathered, has survived to the present day.
For 2000 years these stone and brick structures have stood as memorials of Rome’s past greatness and have been reinvented and reinterpreted, renovated and rededicated, throughout the city’s changing history. The prints and books displayed in the Carlos Museum exhibition “Discovering Rome: Maps and Monuments of the Eternal City,” on view from Sept. 23–Jan. 14, document the perpetual discovery and continuing fascination with the metropolis.
“Discovering Rome” provides a tour of the city through images of its ancient ruins, churches and Renaissance villas and gardens. Most of the works in the exhibition come from Giovanni Battista Falda’s 17th-century “Gardens of Rome” and Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 18th-century “Views of Rome.” A 16th-century etching of the Colosseum by the Netherlandish artist and publisher Hieronymous Cock is also on view, attesting to the long-standing appeal of the city to pilgrims and tourists.
At the center of the exhibition is Giambattista Nolli’s “Great Map of 1748,” a landmark in the history of topography, on loan to the Carlos Museum from a private collector. The map enables viewers to explore the city as a whole and to understand how the individual monuments depicted by Falda and Piranesi fit within their urban context.
“Discovering Rome” is a fascinating complement to other exhibitions exploring the classical world at the Carlos. Through Oct. 22 “In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite” takes a look at the sumptuously decorated vacation homes of Rome’s wealthy and powerful.
For information, visit www.carlos.emory.edu.