The Theater of Marcellus, from the Piazza Montanara
Robert Macpherson (British, Tayside, Scotland 1811–1872 Rome)
1858 or earlier
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 41.9 x 27.4 cm (16 1/2 x 10 13/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2005
Not on view
Like geological strata laid bare to reveal the earth's development, the walls of the Theater of Marcellus bear witness to the various transformations of the ancient Roman monument. Begun by Julius Caesar and completed about 12 B.C. by Augustus, despoiled in the fourth century, fortified in the eleventh, and converted into a palace in the sixteenth, the theater housed apartments and the shops of artisans by the mid-nineteenth century. Macpherson's photograph presents the antique theater in fragmentary form, partially shrouded in shadow--less a field for archaeological investigation than for philosophical meditation on the weight of history on the lives of Rome's modern citizens.
Inscription: Blindstamp on mount, BC: "MacPherson, Rome"; inscribed in pencil in blindstamp: "163"
[Paul Katz]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, August 24, 1981
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National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
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Galassi, Peter. Before Photography: Painting and the Invention of Photography. New York: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1981. fig. no. 64.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. pl.71.
Heilbrun, Françoise. L'Invention d'un Regard (1839–1918). Paris: Musée d'Orsay, 1989. pp. 52, 155.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. pl. 76.
Artist: Robert Macpherson (British, Tayside, Scotland 1811–1872 Rome)Date: ca. 1858Medium: Coated salted paper or light albumen silver print from glass negativeAccession: 1997.382.70On view in:Not on view