Sadeler’s Views of Rome

Sadeler, Aegidius (1570-1629)

Vestigi delle antichita di Roma Tivoli Pozzvolo et altri luochi. Con privilegio di sua Sac. Ces. Mae. Stampati in Praga da Aegidio Sadeler scultore di essa mae 1606.

Rome: Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi, 1660


Oblong folio: 37 x 24.5 cm. I. Engraved title page and 50 engraved plates. II. 24 plates on 12 sheets (2 per sheet), and 1 full-page map.

SECOND EDITION (first printed in 1606) of the first work. FIRST EDITION of the second.

Bound in contemporary parchment, soiled and a little bowed. A nice copy, the margins lightly foxed, with sharp impressions of the plates. The first few leaves of the second work are spotted and there are a few other instances of marginal spotting. With an engraved allegorical title with the main title incised within a wolf's hide hung on a monument; an engraved dedication to Matteo Wackero da Wackenfels (numbered'1'), with the text incised on a stone tablet between flanking obelisks and with two putti supporting the dedicatee's arms; and 49 full-paged engraved plates (ca. 170 x 270 mm), all numbered and signed 'Marco Sadeler excudit', with descriptive captions in Italian. The second work consists of 24 small pates, two per sheet, and an additional sheet with a full-page map of Pozzuoli.

Thirty-six of these images were copied by Aegidius Sadeler from Etienne Du Perac's "I Vestigi dell' antiquità di Roma" (Rome 1575). For the other images, Sadeler drew on drawings by Jan Breughel the elder and Pieter Stevens. Marco Sadeler, whose name appears on the plates, was an engraver and print seller in Prague in the early 1600's and probably the nephew of Aegidius. In the middle of the 17th century, a copy of the 1606 edition found its way to Rome where it was copied for Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi by Gerolamo Ferri, with the "Marco Sadeler excudit" preserved on each plate (late variants appeared towards 1677, at the end of the career of Jacomo de'Rossi, with "Marco Sadeler/ sculpsit" in place of "excudit".). The monograms indicating the reworking of Ferri are visible on the plates no. 10, 19, 37, 42 and 46. In our copy the series is in its earliest state as the plates 4 and 45 are unnumbered and lacking Marco Sadeler's 'excudit' (this state is not recorded in Bartsch.)

In this series, the artists have depicted the ancient monuments of Rome, Tivoli and Pozzuoli as they appeared in the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century: crowned with vegetation, half-buried by the rising ground level and encroached upon by a host of post-Roman structures. The scenes are alive with Rome's inhabitants: herdsmen, mule-drivers, cattle, sheep, and every manner of citizen. The images, in which the ruins are depicted in their un-restored state and within the context of their "modern" environment, serve as a record of the monuments as they appeared in this period and evoke the atmosphere of daily life in early modern Rome.

Olschki 18017; Fowler 283; Berlin Katalog 1856; Bartsch (1978) LXXII, pt. 1, 161-211; Cicognara 3871 (1606 ed.); Hollstein Dutch XXI, 151-201; Weinreb 2, 129; BAL III, nr. 2882 (all plates listed individually); Kissner 408; Catalogue of the exhibition "Vestigi delle antichita ... Momenti dell'elaborazione di un'immagine", edited by Anna Grelle, Rome 1987, pages 123-144 and passim.