FONTANA, Domenico
(b. 1543, Melide, d. 1607, Napoli)

Transportation of the Obelisk

Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican

The picture shows folio 35r of Domenico Fontana's book "Della trasportazione dell'obelisco vaticano et delle fabriche di nostro signore papa Sisto V," published in Rome in 1590. The page shows the obelisk of Augustus newly moved to the piazza in front of St. Peter's. 800 men, 140 horses, and 40 winches were involved in moving and erecting it, accompanied by the ringing of bells and music by Palestrina. Moving the obelisk was such an extraordinary accomplishment that Sixtus made Fontana a Knight of the Golden Spur and gave him the status of a Roman patrician.