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
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.
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