Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae: Temples on the Isle of Tiber

Speculum Romae Magnificentiae
Etienne DuPérac (French, ca. 1535–1604)
Engraving and etching
sheet: 18 1/8 x 21 15/16 in. (46.1 x 55.8 cm) plate: 15 3/8 x 19 1/2 in. (39.1 x 49.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, Transferred from the Library, 1941
Accession Number:
Not on view
This print comes from the museum’s copy of the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (The Mirror of Roman Magnificence) The Speculum found its origin in the publishing endeavors of Antonio Salamanca and Antonio Lafreri. During their Roman publishing careers, the two foreign publishers - who worked together between 1553 and 1563 - initiated the production of prints recording art works, architecture and city views related to Antique and Modern Rome. The prints could be bought individually by tourists and collectors, but were also purchased in larger groups which were often bound together in an album. In 1573, Lafreri commissioned a title page for this purpose, which is where the title ‘Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae’ first appears. Lafreri envisioned an ideal arrangement of the prints in 7 different categories, but during his lifetime, never appears to have offered one standard, bound set of prints. Instead, clients composed their own selection from the corpus to be bound, or collected a group of prints over time. When Lafreri died, two-third of the existing copper plates went to the Duchetti family (Claudio and Stefano), while another third was distributed among several publishers. The Duchetti appear to have standardized production, offering a more or less uniform version of the Speculum to their clients. The popularity of the prints also inspired other publishers in Rome to make copies however, and to add new prints to the corpus.

The museum’s copy of the Speculum entered the collection as a group of 3 albums with inlaid engravings and etchings. The prints have since been removed, but the original place of each print within the album is contained in the accession number: 41.72(

Originally volume 1, plate 23 in the scrapbook.
Inscription: At upper left: Greek inscription
At bottom in margin: Scenographia insulae Tyberinae, quae abeo tempore eßecepit, quo Roma Tarquinij pulsi sunt, ijs enim Regÿs opibus et potestate spoliatis Romani nec ideo quevere sed cum tum in illor agris eßemt segete demeße eas execrabiles duxerunt et maxima cum indignatione proiecerunt in Tyberim fueruntq tanta ut in medio eius constiterint alveo, cum aqua etiam non multa defleuretnt ibiq insula / fortuitu facta est ex illarum cum aremaetalÿs euismodi rebus congerie , quae postea à Romanis perfecta et munita, Insula Louis Liaconÿ vocata est a templo quod huiv deo in ea erat dicatum [?] simulacrum deinde Esculapÿ allatum ex epidaurocum anguc et hoc loco positum esculapio tota insula sacrata est, et ob memoriam illus navilÿ quo Romae id simulacrum est devectu / eadem insula ex marmore et lapide tyburtino ad modum navis est efformata, fuerunt in ea tria insignia templa, unum Iovis, alterum Jani, tertium esculapÿ una cum alÿs edificÿs et domo Hospitali pro his qui infirma essent valetudine Greca inscriptio superius posita repreta est in hac insula eo loci ubi nunc est templum divo Bartholomeo sacrum atq ego Stephanus Duperac Perisiensis / huius insula descriptionem typis mandavi cum maxime cupiam antiqua edificia ovvuli subÿent ad oblectationem eorum qui vetustatis sunt studiosi.
Labeling the buildings on the island from left to right: HOSPITALIS / TEMP ESCVLAPII / T BERE / CINTHIAE / TEMP IOVIS LICAONII / T FAVNI

Marking: On verso at left center: The Metropolitan Museum of Art stamp
H. P. Kraus
Huelsen 110B; Quaritch Catalogue 24
Peter Parshall "Antonio' Lafreri's 'Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae'" Print Quarterly. 1, London, 2006.

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