Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae: The Seven Churches of Rome (Le Sette Chiese di Roma)
Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae
Attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio Brambilla (Italian, active Rome, 1575–99)
Antonio Lafreri (French, Orgelet, Franche-Comte ca. 1512–1577 Rome)
Etching and engraving
sheet: 15 5/8 x 20 1/16 in. (39.7 x 50.9 cm)
mount: 16 15/16 x 22 1/8 in. (43 x 56.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, Transferred from the Library, 1941
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(volume.place).
Originally volume 1, plate 12 in the scrapbook.
Inscription: At lower right: LE SETTE CHIESE DI ROMA / Per esser venuto lanno del Santo Jubileo con: / cesso da Nostro Sigre (re as superscript) Gregorio XIII secondo / lanticho consueto e fatto questo disegno con il / circuito de Roma, dove si vedeno dette chiese / cavata dal naturale et se non sono poste nel / suo luogo, cgni persona iuditiosa conoscera / depender la causa per non haver piu spatio / Di queste sette chiese quattro sono le pivile / giate segnate con li Santi á chie sono de: / dicate, et con una [cross] et in esse si piglia il / Santo Jubileo, ilquale i Dio cidia sua Santa / pace per potero aquistave ne presente / anno 1575 ANT LAFRERII ROMAE
Marking: On verso at center: The Metropolitan Museum of Art stamp
H. P. Kraus
Huelsen 115a; Quaritch Catalogue 12
Peter Parshall "Antonio' Lafreri's 'Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae'" Print Quarterly. 1, London, 2006.