The architect Pirro Ligorio not only carried out major projects for Pope Pius IV, but also expertly studied Roman customs. Here he took details from surviving classical reliefs and worked them up into a comprehensive, imaginative picture of a pagan sacrifice, consistently classical in both its style of representation and the clothing and objects shown.
Vat. lat. 3439 fols. 77 verso-78 recto arch16 TG.13
This document is one of the monuments of historical criticism. Lorenzo Valla here attacks the Donation of Constantine, an eighth-century forgery which supported the papacy's claim to supreme political authority in Europe. Valla shows that the text could not have been written in the fourth century, the age of Constantine the Great, by revealing many anachronisms in form and content.
Vat. lat. 5314 fols. 17 verso-18 recto arch17 TG.17
The texts of a late antique Christian theologian were ascribed during the Middle Ages to Saint Paul's sole Athenian convert, Dionysius. Ambrogio Traversari, the great expert on Christian Greek among the early humanists, produced this new Latin translation of the Greek original. Pope Nicholas V was delighted by it. In his colophon, Traversari thanks God for helping him complete his translation.
Pal. lat. 148 fol. 106 verso arch18 TG.18
The many views of Rome published by Etienne Duperac late in the sixteenth century, like this splendid, nostalgic view of the Circus Maximus and the Palatine, both provided newly accurate visual information and conveyed a rich sense of the decayed state in which Rome's antiquities lay. Collectors assembled albums of these printed views, which often varied from one another in content. These albums circulated widely and provided the reading public of the age of print with something of the satisfaction afforded previously by artists' notebooks.
Capponi III 122 int. 1 pl. 11 arch19 TG.53
Architects and artists recorded and reconstructed the ruins of Rome, and their sketchbooks were vastly important for the spread of visual information (and remain so as a record of sites and buildings that have since been altered or destroyed). Here Giuliano da Sangallo portrays, among other sites, the Palatine hill, the Colosseum, and the Porta Labicana. This manuscript sketchbook, derived in part from the work of earlier artists, shows how rigorously the artists scrutinized Rome's ruins.
Barb. lat. 4424 fols. 4 verso-5 recto arch20 TG.55
Plans like this one by Pietro del Massaio, along with the mapsthat naturally accompanied the "Geography," helped to make the book one of the best-sellers of fifteenth-century Europe. In this plan by Pietro del Massaio, the Castel Sant'Angelo, the Borgo, and Saint Peter's appear at bottom right, separated from the city by the Tiber. Within the city proper, the ancient monuments rise, stripped of modern buildings and urban sprawl. The Pantheon, the Forum, the Capitoline and Palatine hills, and the Colosseum dominate the central space, though a few churches appear beside them. Other monuments, like the Pyramide (top right), can readily be identified.
Vat. lat. 5699 fol. 127 recto arch21 TG.14