A cork model of the arch of Titus in Rome

A delightful illustrated article here about reconstructing the appearance of ancient Rome.  One item in it caught my eye:

Arch of Titus - Cork model by Antonio Chichi

The article adds:

Among the most useful visual resources for studying the ancient city are the  physical models which, since the eighteenth century, architects started to  provide to help scholars and students better understand the ancient remains.

The pioneer was the famous cork-modeler, Antonio Chichi, who lived from 1743  to 1816. He created a set of 36 of the great sites of ancient Rome. Sold to  Grand Tourists, they served as souvenirs but also as study aids (cf. Wilton  and Bignamini 1996: 298) analogous to plaster casts of famous Greek and Roman  statues, which, not coincidentally, as Giuseppe Pucci has shown, also came  into vogue at this time (Pucci 1997).

As can be seen in the case of the model  of the Arch of Titus (fig. 9), Chichi’s reproductions were state models, not reconstructions:  that is, they showed the current condition of the monument.

In the example at  hand, we thus see the arch still embedded within the Frangipane tower before  Valadier’s restoration of the early nineteenth century.

Marvellous!

6 Responses to “A cork model of the arch of Titus in Rome”


  1. The arch of Constantine, the meta sudans, and the arch of Titus in 1575 at Roger Pearse

    [...] arch of Titus, still embedded in the remains of the medieval Frangipani fortress, exactly as the later cork model shows [...]

  2. Matthew

    Have you ever seen the magnificent cork models of Pompeii at the Soane museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields?

  3. Roger Pearse

    ‘Fraid not!

  4. Matthew

    well, you know you have to see them. When I was in London last year, they were off display. A cork model artisan (indeed!) was recreating some lost sections of the great model. They’d even figured out how to age it to match. Should be a treat. Get to Soane’s!

  5. Steven fine

    Hi! Do you know where this model us? Is there more than one? Thanks, Steve

  6. Roger Pearse

    I don’t – sorry! It sounds as if such items were made for sale to travellers, so probably there are.