Jacob von Sandrart's rare and exquisitely engraved view of Rome, one of the finest impressions of the 'Eternal City' made during the great Baroque Era of Art and Architecture.
This finely engraved and lavishly decorative view of Rome takes in all of the 'Eternal City', as it was encompassed by its ancient Aurelian Walls, built during the 2nd Century A.D., on the banks of the River Tiber. Numerous monuments and sites, all of which are still present today, can be seem on the view, including the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Piazza del Popolo, the Church of San Giovanni Laterno, the Baths of Diocletian, and the Vatican, which is dominated by the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica and the Castel Sant'Angelo. Most notable is the great oval Colonnade that lines the square in front of St. Peter's, which had only been completed in 1666 by the Gianlorenzo Bernini, one of the towering figures of the Baroque Era. The quality of the engraving is exceptionally high, as is the composition of the view, which grants the observer a panoptic view over Rome, while the specific details of the cityscape remain sharply distinguishable.
In the upper left, the title cartouche is surmounted by a portrait of Pope Innocent XI (reigned 1676-89), considered to be a leader of great learning and political acumen. In the upper right corner is a montage featuring the shields of the 14 traditional districts (wards) of Rome. Flowing through the view itself, the River Tiber has its orgins in an allegorical personification of its springs.
In the lower left, a table, 'Index Aedium Antiquitatarum' identifies an amazing 253 ancient buildings and ruins throughout the city. The 'Index Ecclesiarium' in the lower right identifies an incredible 178 churches, although it is not surprising that Rome had by far more houses of worship than any other city in Europe.
In the lower center of the plan are seven views of some of the city's most prominent churches, including St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican), St. Paul's Basilica, San Sebastian Church, San Giovanni Laterno, Sacred Cross of Jerusalem Church, Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
At the time that this view was issued, Rome was enjoying a period of prosperity, and the city's population had reached over 120,000, making it one of the 10 largest cities in Europe. The Roman Catholic Church was on a high, having largely succeeded in driving the Counterreformation, and revenues were pouring in to the Vatican from around the world. This funded the great flourishing of art and architecture in Baroque Rome.
The map was engraved by Jacob von Sandrart (1630-1708), one of the leading fine art engravers of the 17th Century. Born in Frankfurt-am-Main, he apprenticed under his famous uncle Joachim von Sandrart in Amsterdam. He worked in Danzing and Regensburg, and by 1656 had established himself in Nuremberg, where he remained for the rest of his life. Sandrart was highly productive, as over 400 different engravings from his burin are known to survive, although the high quality of his work never wavered. Along with his maps, he is especially well-known for his portraits. Sandrart was the founder and first director of the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts (chartered 1662).
The present map is based on Giovanni Battista Falda's 12-sheet view of Rome, Nuova Pianta et alzata della citta di Roma, first published in 1676.
Sandrart's view of Rome is rare, we are aware of only 2 examples appearing at auction during the last 25 years.