Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae: Porta Maggiore

Series/Portfolio:
Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae
Artist:
Anonymous
Publisher:
Antonio Lafreri (French, Orgelet, Franche-Comte ca. 1512–1577 Rome)
Date:
1549
Medium:
Engraving
Dimensions:
sheet: 13 1/8 x 19 1/16 in. (33.4 x 48.4 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, Transferred from the Library, 1941
Accession Number:
41.72(1.75)
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 75 in the scrapbook.
Inscription: At top center: TI CLAVDIVS DRVSI F CAESAR AVGVSTVS GERMANICS PONTIF MAXIM / TRIBVNICIA POTESTATE XII COS V IMPERATOR XXVII PATER PATRIAE / AQVAS CLAVDIAM EX FONTIBS QVI VOCABANTVR CAERVLEVS ET CVTIVS AMILLIARO XXXV / ITEM ANIENEM NOVAM A MILLIARO LXII SVA IMPENSA IN VRBEM PERDVCENDAS CVRAVIT / IMP CAESAR VESPACIANVS AVGVST PONTIF MAX TRIB POT II IMP VI COS II DESIG IIII PP / AQVAS CVRTIAM ET CAERVLEAM PERDVCTAS A DIVO CLAVDIO ET POSTEO INTERMISSAS DIAPSAS QVE / PER ANNOS NOVEM SVA IMPENSA VRBI RESTITVIT / IMP T CAESAR DIVI F VESPASIANVS AVGVSTVS PONTIF EX MAXIMVS TRIBVNIC / POTESTATE X IMPERATOR XCII PATER PATRIAE CENSOR COS VIII / AQVAS CURTIAM ET CAERVLEAM PERDCTAS A DIVO CLAVDIO ET POSTEA / A DIVO VESPASIANO PATRE SVO VRBI RESTITVTATS CVM A CAPITE AQVARVM A SOLO VETVSTATE DILAPSA ESSENT NOVA FORMA REDVCENDAS SVA IMPENSA CVRAVIT
At bottom center: Veteris aquae Claudiae ex Tiburtino forina; via portague Naevia ac Labicana, nunc Maioris appellatione, notissima; servatis architecture legibus, et cadem in anteriore exteriorque part,e uncialium litterrum inscriptione repetita, nobilis. / Antonÿ Lafreri 1549

Marking: On verso at left center: The Metropolitan Museum of Art stamp
H. P. Kraus
Huelsen 24a; Quaritch Catalogue 73
Peter Parshall "Antonio' Lafreri's 'Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae'" Print Quarterly. 1, London, 2006.

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