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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: The Small Book of Roman Ruins: Interior of an amphitheater, probably the Coliseum
Date: ca. 1550
Medium: Etching
Dimensions: Mounted: 13 3/8 × 9 9/16 inches (34 × 24.3 cm); Plate: 8 × 6 inches (20.3 × 15.2 cm)
Credit Line: Acquired through the Professor and Mrs. M. H. Abrams Purchase Fund
Object Number: 2006.050
Label Text: Upon his return to Antwerp after a stay in Rome between 1546 and 1548, the printmaker and publisher Hieronymus Cock issued a series of small format Roman views that reflect an outsider’s awe at his encounter with the cavernous remnants of Rome’s ancient glory. Cock populates his scenes with questionable figures, which are undoubtedly an accurate reflection of the lawlessness that reigned in parts of a city that had long since shrunk well back within the circuit of its Aurelian wall. In this view which most likely shows the interior of the Colosseum, an unarmed man is accosted by two sword-wielding brigands while two others lurk under a shadowy arch, having just loosed their dog on two unsuspecting pilgrims absorbed in their tour of the ruins. Although they were created by an artist working in distant Flanders, Cock’s Roman prints were among the very first views of Rome to be circulated, and influenced the work of other artists, including Venetian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi; half of Scamozzi’s own 1582 book Discorsi sopra l’antichità di Roma (Discourses on the antiquities of Rome) is illustrated with copies after Cock’s views.(Andrew C. Weislogel, "Mirror of the City: The Printed View in Italy and Beyond, 1450–1940," catalogue accompanying an exhibition organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, curated by Andrew C. Weislogel and Stuart M. Blumin, and presented at the Johnson Museum August 11–December 23, 2012)

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.