Another image of old St Peters in Rome

Old St Peters in Rome was not demolished until the end of the 16th century, so there ought to be quite a number of engravings and artists’ depictions of it.  I confess, tho, that I know little about early engravers, and so don’t know where to look.

The following item, from 1575, is by Giovanni Battista De’Cavalieri, and shows the drum of the new basilica rising behind the old portico.  Thankfully the British Museum make it available online here, with the explanation “The ceremony of the opening of the Porta Santa for the Jubilee of 1575, with crowds of pilgrims standing in the Piazza San Pietro with the new cathedral rising behind the old one.”

old_st_peters_portico_1575What I don’t know is how this engraving was originally issued.  Was it really a free-standing item?  Or part of a book?

It’s very interesting to see, all the same.  That portico at the front is conspicuous in all the engravings.

UPDATE: Joseph Yarbrough has sent me a link to De Cavalieri’s book Urbis Romae aedificorum illustriumque on here.  This has marvellous images of the Roman monuments in his day (although not this print).


8 thoughts on “Another image of old St Peters in Rome

  1. The following copied from U.NotreDame:
    Giovanni Battista Cavalieri. Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae. Rome, 1569. Bound with: Giovanni Antonio Dosio. Urbis Romae aedificiorum illustriumquae supersunt reliquiae. Florence, 1569.

    This item consists of two works bound together in one volume. The first is a collection of 100 engraved plates of Roman sculpture beginning with the Laocoön. Its author, Giovanni Battista Cavalieri, worked in Rome as both a publisher and engraver. Around the year 1561, Cavalieri began publishing prints of antique statuary that were collectively bound as a set of 58 prints with the title Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae, Liber Primus. He subsequently published this second edition with 100 engravings, and later still a Tertius and Quartus Liber.

    The second work is listed in numerous bibliographies as one of the most important 16th century sets of engravings on Roman architecture. Dosio, a sculptor and architect, recorded views of buildings within their contemporary Renaissance surroundings and in their present state rather than attempting at reconstructions. In addition to selecting the 50 buildings represented, Dosio provided architectural descriptions that are engraved in each plate. The engravings themselves were done by Giovanni Battista Cavalieri, providing cohesion to the volume.

  2. Thank you for sharing this image! I’d love to see more, if you find online access to the whole book.

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