SANDRART, Joachim von.. Romae antiquæ et novæ theatrum; sive, genuina ac vera urbis, juxta varios ejusdem status, delineatio topographica.

Nuremberg: Christian Sigmund Froberger for the author, 1684., , 1684

Folio (385 x 235 mm.), title with woodcut printer's device, text printed in double column, additional double-page engraved architectual title in Latin and German, double-page bird's-eye-view of Ancient Rome and large folding bird's-eye-view of contemporary Rome, 69 engraved plates and plans, many folding or double-page. A very fine copy in contemporary English pannelled calf.



A fine copy of Sandrart's views of ancient and contemporary Rome. Encompassed by double-page engraved frontispiece, double-page map of ancient Rome, large folding engraved map of modern Rome, 69 engraved plates (34 double-page), this book presents a complete tour of Roman architecture from Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, to a contemporary topographical map of the city, as well as reconstructions of the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill.

As the ideal tour of ancient and contemporary Rome, Romae antiquæ was a publication of interest for Northern European visitors during their Grand Tour, a practice which greatly evolved at the time it was published in the late seventeenth. Prints, paintings, cultural artefacts and books such as this copy served as a souvenir of the city for tourists who explored the culture of the Classical Period and the Renaissance during their travels in Italy. With this book, the wonders of distant places and ancient times could be brought home to be admired in a library, which was made easier by the doubling Latin and German descriptions of each engraved image.

Joachim von Sandrart (1606-1688), originally from Frankfurt am Main, had toured Italy in the same fashion, travelling through Venice, Bologna, Rome and Naples with his cousin, Michel le Blon. He received his first artistic stimuli under Sebastian Stoskopff in Frankfurt, as well as learning engraving under Aegidius Sadeler in Prague, and working in Gerrit van Honthorst's studio in Utrecht. Later in life, he was active chiefly as a painter and art historian, founding the Academy for Painting in Nuremberg in 1674. His most well-known printed work, Teutsche Academie (1675-1680), presented a comprehensive dictionary of art history with portrait illustrations and biographies of each artist, in the style Giorgio Vasari. However, Romae antiquæ is a smaller publication directed mostly at the German architectural and Grand Tour market, often taking liberties with previously printed works such as Pietro Ferrerio's Palazzi di Roma (1670) and Giovanni Battista Falda's Palazzi di Roma (1655). It includes a fold-out map of Rome completed with legends for each monument and church, based on Johannes Blaeu's Theatrum civitatum (1663) and executed by Johann Meyer, who had collaborated with Sandrart to produce Teutsche Academie.

The engravings form an eclectic ensemble throughout the work, beginning with images of the legend of Romulus and Remus as ancient statuary in a reimagined scenery, progressing to architectural elements devoid of background, floor-plans and monuments inserted into their urban context. Trajan's and Antonine Columns are depicted in a veduta manner, as part of their Roman scenery in Trajan's Forum and Piazza di Monte Citorio, respectively. It also includes drawings of the Esquiline, Flaminio, and Lateran obelisks, the latter made in c. 1400 BCE Egypt and transported from Alexandria to Rome's circus Maximus in 357 CE. The ancient monument had been rediscovered and restored in one hundred years earlier, and moved to the Lateran Palace, topped by a Christian cross under the order of Pope Sixtus V. The final segment of the work focuses on the architecture of different churches and palazzos, presenting line-drawings of floor-plans and the buildings' façades. Sandrart's work presents an eclectic tour of Rome's history and topography, a publication characteristic of the Grand Tour sensitivities felt strongly in the late seventeenth century.


BAL RIBA 2894; Grasse p.264 ; Brunet V, 125: "Ces différents ouvrages de Sandrart sont recherchés, mais il est difficile de les trouver réunis".


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