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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Italy: Rome: Villa Celimontana. View of the garden of the Villa Celimontana (Mattei al Celio) showing the granite obelisk in the centre of the theatre. In the foreground to the left is an aedicular relief of a monumental head and shoulders with an arcaded sarcophagus.
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image Adam vol.57/50

Reference number

Adam vol.57/50

Purpose

Italy: Rome: Villa Celimontana. View of the garden of the Villa Celimontana (Mattei al Celio) showing the granite obelisk in the centre of the theatre. In the foreground to the left is an aedicular relief of a monumental head and shoulders with an arcaded sarcophagus.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 50

Signed and dated

Undated, probably 1755 or 1756.

Medium and dimensions

Pen, brown and grey washes; pencil framing line at the bottom185 x 251

Hand

Robert Adam

Notes

Robert Adam was possibly attracted to the late sixteenth-century Villa Celimontana in Rome on account of the antiquities there. His drawing accurately shows the obelisk (Obeliscus Capitolinus, removed from the front of S. Maria in Aracoeli), which was erected in the villa garden in 1582. The garden and its antiquities are recorded in G. Vasi, Delle Magnificenze di Roma antica e moderna libero decimo, Rome, 1761, pl.36. The obelisk was repaired in 1815; the formal gardens were destroyed in the nineteenth century. The monumental head and sarcophagus are recorded in a contemporary watercolour (see I. Barsali, Ville di Roma: Lazio, Milan, 1970, p.100); the monumental head is that of Alexander the Great, and the sarcophagus shows three of the nine Muses. There is a preliminary sketch for this view in pen and grey wash in the Clerk Collection, Scotland (Clerk 90), which shows a lion in front of the obelisk and no sarcophagus.The views depicted in Adam vol.57/51 and 57/52 were probably taken from Monte Celio and may have been done at the same time as this drawing.

Level

Drawing

Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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