Plate 20: Emperor Trajan receiving the Dacian envoy, 1672
Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635 - 1700)
RA Collection: Art
The Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column erected in Rome in 113 AD by emperor Trajan. Most likely constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus it was part of the project of the Trajan Forum to commemorate the Roman victory against the Dacians over the dominion of Dacia (modern day Romania).
The column is decorated by a continuous helical frieze that winds around its body from base to capital. The reliefs depict scenes of the two wars against the Dacians in great detail. However, the height of the column prevented thorough and understanding of this capital monument of the imperial Rome. Its study was finally made possible in 1660s when King Louis XIV of France commissioned the erection of scaffolding in order to make a cast of the whole frieze. The engraver Pietro Santi Bartoli was therefore able to sketch every episode. This monumental work was later etched and completed with annotations of the antiquarian Pietro Bellori, adding to previous work by Alfonso Chacón (1576) and published by Domenico de’ Rossi (1672).
Bartoli’s Colonna Traiana was immediately a success. Although not accurate in every detail and inevitably incorporating some elements of contemporary artistic style, Bartoli's Trajan Column appeared to be the most compleate and detailed repertoire of the time. In addition, it was an agile research tool: manageable, highly illustrated, and not heavily pedantic. Reprinted in 1704, 1751 and 1825, Bartoli’s Colonna Traiana remained the most valid point of reference for any study of Trajan’s Column until the early nineteenth-century photographic reproductions, which unsurpassed even by the monumental Piranesi’s edition, Trofeo o Sia Magnifica Colonna Coclide (1774–79).
184 mm x 364 mm
Colonna Traiana Eretta Dal Senato, E Popolo Romano All'Imperatore Traiano Augusto Nel Suo Foro In Roma. Scolpita Con L'Historie Della Guerra Dacica La Prima E La Seconda Espeditione, E Vittoria Contro Il Re Decebalo. Nuovamente Disegnata, Et Intagliata Da Pietro Santi Bartoli. Con L'Espositione Latina D'Alfonso Ciaccone, Compendiata Nella Vulgare Lingua Sotto Ciascuna Immagine, Accresciuta Di Medaglie, Inscrittioni, E Trofei, Da Gio. Pietro Bellori. - in Roma, alla Pace con Privilegio del S. Pontefice.: (1751).
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