(b. 1697, Venezia, d. 1768, Venezia)

Rome: Ruins of the Forum, Looking towards the Capitol

Oil on canvas, 188 x 104 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

This attractive view of the Forum comes from the same series of paintings as The Arch of Constantine. Like the other three works from the group it is prominently signed and dated.

The Forum was the site of the political and religious centre of ancient Rome; attempts to excavate it were made throughout the eighteenth century, and the ruins revealed were consistently revered by visitors to the city. The tourists shown here mainly scrutinize the remains of the temple of Castor and Pollux which dominates the foreground. One man, at the right, is so intent upon the ruin that he appears to be ignoring the cleric in black who is attempting to converse with him. Further back, at the left, between the columns can be seen a knife grinder, and over towards the right, the Temple of Saturn. Rising up above it is the Palazzo Senatorio which dominates the Capitoline Hill. These topographical elements have been depicted with considerable care, but elsewhere the artist has taken liberties with his subject - some of the houses at the left are invented, and their chimneys appear characteristically Venetian, rather than Roman.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Jean-Philippe Rameau: Castor et Pollux, March