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The Theater that was Rome About From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, when the books, maps and single sheet prints that appear on this web site were made, Rome presented itself as a theater of the most advanced engineering feats of the period, as well as of the technological skills to execute and record the decorative programs that went with them. Maps of the city in its new guise as the powerful center of Christendom also documented the growth of curiosity about its antique history and pagan past, displaying all the forms of cartographic knowledge available throughout the period. Such maps became important visual frameworks for recording and advertising the building programs, excavations, and processions that made Rome a most Christian city, attracting tourists and pilgrims from near and far. The new and ancient monuments that marked the urban landscape—obelisks, amphitheaters, aqueducts, sculptures and the gigantic churches that were triumphs of modern architecture—were recorded in the context of the city's built history, and minutely examined in specialized books on architecture and engineering. Plans for refurbishing the city, such as Michelangelo's evolving schema for the Campidoglio, or the rebuilding of St. Peter's basilica, were printed well in advance of their completion and turned up in cities far from Rome to publicize the papacy's ambitions for remolding the city in the image of each sitting pontiff. Some of the projects that made Rome a pilgrimage center for aspiring architects and engineers were printed multiple times in intimate detail, such as moving and restoring the city's obelisks, dredging and improving the Tiber and its banks, and designs for ever more inventive fountains throughout each of its neighborhoods. Restoring aqueducts in the image of the ancient emperors and repaving and improving the city's historic streets had both urbanistic and printed outcomes. These printed books, maps, and single sheet prints each provided a showcase for the skills of artists and authors who displayed their knowledge of antiquity through imaging the city's ruins, or their knowledge of engineering by minutely illustrating its most successful projects, or their mastery of the topography and the history of the entire city through maps and views. These books, always expensive, have often been dissected and sold page by page, or else kept locked in rare book libraries because of their value and their beauty. They are written in archaic versions of several languages, which has led modern readers to ignore the texts and more technical or archaeological information that were always meant to accompany the images of, for example, Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Our goal is to create a digital library, research and teaching site that reunites text and image, and provides a corresponding base of bibliographic information, historical documentation and critical interpretation that will reveal patterns of practical and intellectual collaboration in the early modern project of printing the image of early modern Rome. Many of the illustrated books printed in the Renaissance were called "Theaters", designed to display for a reader the whole panoply of any one subject with special attention to its variety and diversification within any given rubric. The Theater that was Rome looks at the creation of early modern Rome as a theater populated by a cosmopolitan group of engineers, artists, architects, authors, printers and publishers, gardeners, pilgrims, clerics, aristocrats and intellectual cardinals who contributed to the flood of printed information that proceeded from early modern interest in the physical and mythological city. People Evie Lincoln (History of Art and Architecture), Faculty Lead Brian Repetto (GS, History of Art and Architecture) Cliff Wulfman (STG) James Stout (STG) Elli Mylonas (STG, CDS) Patrick Yott (CDI, CDS) Ann Caldwell (CDI, CDS)
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