Collecting Prints and Photographs, 1550–1900

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae

Antiquae Urbis Splendor

Vedute di Roma


Interest in ancient Rome—its monuments, objects, texts, and history—persisted in a variety of ways after the decline of the Empire. Texts were studied and copied, small objects were prized for their craftsmanship, and ancient buildings were re-purposed for modern (often Christian) uses.

Interest in classical art flourished during the sixteenth century, which, combined with the spread of printing technology, sparked the production of printed and illustrated books and single-sheet prints that were widely collected and often reprinted or copied. Throughout the centuries, new ways of capturing and circulating images of Rome developed, including the following objects highlighted in this exhibition.



Image: Artist unknown, after Nicolas Beatrizet (French, 1507/1515–c. 1565). Castel Sant ‘Angelo from Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (The Mirror of Roman Magnificence),1602. Engraving. Published by Giovanni Orlandi from a plate originally published by the heirs of Claudio Duchetti. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection. 1974.12.1671