Antonio Tempesta's
Plan of Rome


Antonio Tempesta, a Florentine painter and engraver born in 1555, went to Rome for work, and died there in 1630. As well as paintings, he made at least 1,400 prints.

His Plan of Rome is on twelve folio sheets, and measures some 1.08 by 2.43 metres when pasted together. For practical reasons (viz to make his plan two sheets high), he elongates the city. Originating in 1593, the plan was sufficiently popular to see a second impression in 1606, whence the present images, and again in 1648 and 1664.

The date of Tempesta's plan makes for an interesting production, as does his love of detail. We have antique and Renaissance Rome "complete", with the canvas waiting, so to speak, for the great projects of the Baroque.

Of course, part of the interest of the plan is that it shows monuments which no longer survive, at least in their present location. The most fascinating is the Column of Antoninus Pius, not fully excavated until 1703: we might suppose (because we cannot see) that in Tempesta's time only the shaft was visible, not the base. Clement XI (Albani,. 1700-1721) had great plans for the monument, but unfortunately the red granite obelist was badly damaged, and plans for its restoration were abaondoned. What did survive was the magnificent base, with the most delicate and vigorous of all public monumental friezes, which now graces the Vatican Collections.

Take a look at the 96 images. NB The images will be properly catalogued when I have time!