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Antefix  

Nancy A. Winter

[antefixum; pl. antefixes, antefixa]. Plaque closing the outer end of the final cover tile in each row of overlapping cover tiles running down from the ridge to the eaves of a sloped roof on Classical Greek and Roman and on Neo-classical buildings. Its practical functions were to prevent rain from penetrating below the cover tile and seeping through the opening between the adjacent pan tiles beneath, and to prevent wind from dislodging the row of cover tiles. Although functional in origin, the antefix soon also became a decorative element adorned with relief and/or painted decoration. The size and shape of early examples was determined by that of the cover tile, but by c. 550–525 bc the plaque had become larger than its tile in order to accommodate more decoration.

The earliest antefixes, from the first half of the 7th century bc, apparently formed part of undecorated terracotta roofs in the Corinthia of ...

Article

Thomas J. McCormick

(b Paris, baptAug 28, 1721; d Auteuil, Jan 19, 1820).

French architect, archaeologist and painter. He was an important if controversial figure associated with the development of the Neo-classical style of architecture and interior design and its dissemination throughout Europe and the USA. He studied at the Académie Royale d’Architecture, Paris, under Germain Boffrand and won the Grand Prix in 1746. He spent the years 1749 to 1754 at the Académie Française in Rome but left after an argument with the director Charles-Joseph Natoire over his refusal to make his Easter Communion; this may have been due to his Jansenist sympathies. He nevertheless remained in Italy until 1767. During these years he became a close friend of Piranesi, Winckelmann, Cardinal Alessandro Albani and other members of the international circle interested in the Antique.

In his early student days in Rome, Clérisseau became acquainted in particular with English travellers and began to sell them his attractive topographical drawings of Roman architecture. Initially these were influenced by his studies with ...

Article

John Turpin

(b London, March 5, 1761; d Rome, Aug 26, 1816).

English painter, archaeologist and dealer, of Irish origin. A Roman Catholic, he was the son of a prosperous London baker, originally from Cork. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1781; two years later he travelled to Italy via Flanders and Paris, reaching Rome in January 1784. There, under the influence of Andrea Appiani and François-Xavier Fabre, he evolved an individual and original Neo-classical style of portrait painting, with an emphasis on contour, clear colour and psychological penetration. By the early 1790s he had become a fashionable painter of English visitors and a prominent member of Roman artistic society. His portraits often include evocative Italian landscape settings, as in Elizabeth, Lady Webster (1793; priv. col.), which shows Mt Vesuvius in the background, and the double portrait of his friend Sir Corbet Corbet with his Wife and Dogs in the Roman Campagna (c. 1797; priv. col., see Crookshank and Glin, ...

Article

Luca Leoncini

(b Pigna, Liguria, June 4, 1753; d Rome, March 17, 1836).

Italian archaeologist and churchman. He went when young to Rome, where he studied philosophy and civil and canon law at the Sapienza. He took priestly orders, but after working briefly as a lawyer devoted himself entirely to archaeology. His first written work was Sulle rovine di Roma, a dissertation appended to the third volume of his translation (Rome, 1783–4) of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums. He became librarian of the Biblioteca Chigiana and was appointed by Pope Pius VII (reg 1800–23) commissioner for Roman antiquities. Numerous excavations were carried out under his direction: he took a particular interest in those on the Roman Forum. Apart from his many writings about Roman antiquities, Fea published editions of Horace, G. L. Bianconi’s Descrizione dei circhi particolarmente di quello di Caracalla and the works of Anton Raphael Mengs. He was one of the founders of the modern law for the protection of artistic ...

Article

Luca Leoncini

(b Lugnano nel Lazio, 1664; d Rome, Feb 1, 1747).

. Italian scholar, archaeologist and antique collector. His studies and his major writings were devoted to ancient art, and were closely linked with the objects he collected throughout his life. These formed an important collection which earned him great fame, but which was dispersed after his death. It contained small objects and rarities including mirrors, graffiti, lead seals, coins, cameos, lockets and tesserae. The most important piece was undoubtedly the famous Ficoroni Cist from Praeneste (c. 325–c. 300 bc; Rome, Villa Giulia; see Etruscan §VI). One of Ficoroni’s most important studies, published in Rome in 1745, was devoted to his native village, identified with the ancient Labicum. Another of his principal works, Le vestigia e rarità di Roma (1744), was also concerned with topographical matters. Ficoroni was elected correspondent of the Academy of Inscriptions and member of the Royal Academies of Paris and London and the Accademia Peloritana of Messina. He founded the Colonia Esquilina degli Inculti....

Article

David Rodgers

(b Murdieston, Lothian, 1723; d Rome, Jan 4, 1798).

Scottish painter, archaeologist and dealer, active in Italy. He was educated at Glasgow University and in 1748 arrived in Rome to study portrait painting under Agostino Masucci. He lodged with the architects James Stuart and Nicholas Revett; they probably encouraged him to visit Herculaneum and the recently discovered archaeological site of Pompeii, which had a profound effect on his subsequent career. Convinced that ‘the ancients have surpassed the moderns, both in painting and sculpture’, Hamilton undertook a systematic study of Classical antiquities during the 1750s and 1760s. In 1751 he was briefly in Scotland, where he painted a full-length portrait of Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Hamilton (Lennoxlove, Lothian), in a conventional style derived from van Dyck. He returned to Rome in 1752 and remained there, with the exception of short visits to England, for the rest of his life. In 1755 he was introduced by Anton Raphael Mengs to Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who was to become one of the leading theorists of Neo-classicism. In the same year Hamilton entertained Robert Adam (i), who studied in Rome from ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, 1st century bc).

Greek sculptor and writer from South Italy. He is generally regarded as the head of a school producing eclectic, neo-classical statuary related to Neo-Attic decorative reliefs. Virtually everything known about Pasiteles is derived from a few literary references. No signatures of his are extant, although a marble statue of a youth (c. 50 bc; Rome, Villa Albani) is signed by Stephanos as his pupil. Pasiteles received Roman citizenship around 89–88 bc, when enfranchisement was extended as a result of the Social War (Pliny XXXIII.lv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He is mentioned as an expert in the chasing of metal (caelatura), especially elaborately decorated silver vessels (Pliny XXXV.xlv.156; Cicero: On Divination I.xxxvi.79). Despite being both a sculptor and metalworker, Pasiteles is never mentioned by Pliny in his section on sculptors in bronze. Rather, he is specifically identified as a modeller and ivory carver (XXXV.xlv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He must have worked in marble as well, since his name occurs twice in book XXXVI, where marble sculpture is treated, and his student ...

Article

John Wilton-Ely

[Giambattista]

(b Mogliano, nr Mestre, Oct 4, 1720; d Rome, Nov 9, 1778).

Italian etcher, engraver, designer, architect, archaeologist and theorist. He is considered one of the supreme exponents of topographical engraving, but his lifelong preoccupation with architecture was fundamental to his art. Although few of his architectural designs were executed, he had a seminal influence on European Neo-classicism through personal contacts with architects, patrons and visiting artists in Rome over the course of nearly four decades. His prolific output of etched plates, which combined remarkable flights of imagination with a strongly practical understanding of ancient Roman technology, fostered a new and lasting perception of antiquity. He was also a designer of festival structures and stage sets, interior decoration and furniture, as well as a restorer of antiquities. The interaction of this rare combination of activities led him to highly original concepts of design, which were advocated in a body of influential theoretical writings. The ultimate legacy of his unique vision of Roman civilization was an imaginative interpretation and re-creation of the past, which inspired writers and poets as much as artists and designers....

Article

Helen Weston

[Prudon, Pierre]

(b Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, April 4, 1758; d Paris, Feb 16, 1823).

French painter and draughtsman. Prud’hon is best known for his allegorical paintings and portraits, most of which were done during the turbulent years of the Revolution (1789–99) and the heroic years of the First Empire (1804–15). It is paradoxical that, while actively supporting the rigorous social reforms of the Jacobins and seeking approval in Napoleonic circles, Prud’hon should have produced work that generally shows great charm and sentimental appeal; these qualities distinguish his oeuvre from the more austere Neo-classicism of David and his school and place him historically in close relation to an earlier 18th-century European tradition of sensibilité and to the Anacreontic manner that was fashionable with a number of artists working in Italy when he was there. His letters from Rome contain statements of admiration for the noble and graceful forms of ancient statuary and for the work of Raphael; but these are balanced by an equal admiration for the handling of expression by Leonardo da Vinci and Anton Raphael Mengs. Later, in Paris, while he analysed physiognomy and gesture in the work of Poussin, he also studied the subtle chiaroscuro in Correggio’s work and the tenebrist practice of Caravaggio and applied these to his mythological and religious works. Prud’hon’s style is thus characterized by a softer, more lyrical form of Neo-classicism and occasionally by a dark and disquieting Romanticism. His independence from his Parisian contemporaries can be attributed partly to his idiosyncratic choice of models for study and partly to influences from patrons and teachers during his formative years....