Stunning 8 sheet Lafreri School Wall Map of Rome
Near flawless example of Giovanni Giacomo Rossi's monumental 8 sheet plan of Rome, first published in 1574 by Etienne Duperac, a Parisien engraver, working in Rome.
Rossi's monumental Lafreri-type plan of Rome, oriented with north to the top left, shows both a cohesive plan of Rome and an illustration of its major buildings in profile. The plan was originally compiled from a detailed archaeological survey by Pirro Ligorio (c.1510-83), a scholar of the ancient monuments in Rome. The view employes Ligorio's illustrations for the reconstructions of the buildings.
Inside the city each building is delineated, with the majority named; these include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Baths of Diocletian and the Circus Maximus. Outside the city the country estates are marked, for example the Gardens of Domitian, funerary monuments such as the mausoleums of Hadrian and Augustus, and the circuses of Nero and Hadrian.
The plan was originally engraved by the Parisian engraver and publisher Étienne Dupérac (c.1525-1604), who used the more Italian name of Stephanus during his period working in Rome (1669-1582). During this time Dupérac worked for various Roman publishers, including Lafreri, Vaccari, Faleti and P.P. Palumbo.
The dedication, to Charles IX of France, explains that the map was the fruit of fifteen years of study of the ruins and monuments of ancient Rome and of related literary texts. It also gives a detailed account of the discovery of the sarcophagus of Severiana in the church of SS. Cosmas and Damian in 1562.
First published by Vaccaro in 1574, there are no known examples of the first state. Huelsen records only one known example bearing the name of Francesco Villamena (c.1565 - 1624) in the British Museum, with a Rome address, therefore post-1590. Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi (1621-1691) must have acquired the plates from the Villamena estate, publishing the plan from 1660.
Giacomo Giovanni Rossi (1627-1691) was an Italian engraver and printer. He worked in Rome, the heir to an important printing business founded by his father, Giuseppe de Rossi (1570-1639). Giuseppe began the press in 1633 and Giovanni and his brother, Giandomenico (1619-1653) took it over upon his death. The brothers expanded the business and by the mid-seventeenth century it was the best-known printing house in Rome.
For his maps, Giovanni worked with Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola. They produced the Atlas Mercurio Geografico. The first edition is undated, but the second was issued in 1692, a year after Giovanni’s death. The maps were by Cantelli. The firm also published maps based on those of Nicolas Sanson.
Later, the business passed to Lorenzo Filippo (1682-?). By 1738, the firm was known as Calcografia Camerale, then, from 1870 to 1945, as the Regia Calcografica. Today, the firm is still in business and is called Calcografia Nazionale. It operates as a free museum and offers one of the best collections of prints and plates in the world.