A painting of the “temple of Serapis” / “Aurelian’s temple of Sol Invictus”

In the 16th century there were a number of ancient monuments in Rome which have since disappeared.  Among these was a massive temple on the Quirinal Hill, which was generally thought to be the Temple of Sol Invictus dedicated by the emperor Aurelian in 274 AD, but today is thought to be the temple of Serapis.

As with many of these older monuments, drawings exist, and I have written a number of posts about them, such as this one.  But today I came across a colour painting of this monument.

It is by Willem van Nieulandt the Younger (1584-1635 ca.), View of the Forum Romanum.  Thankfully a copy is at Wikimedia Commons here.

Temple of Sol Invictus / Temple of Serapis, Rome. Willem van Nieulandt the Younger.
Temple of Sol Invictus / Temple of Serapis, Rome. Willem van Nieulandt the Younger.

The temple is circled:

Willem_van_Nieulandt_-_forumrome_-_WGA_zoom

This drawing by Jan Goree, before 1704, is the same monument from roughly the same angle:

Jan_Goeree_aurelian_temple_of_sol_1704
I wonder what other paintings exist of the vanished monuments in Rome.

One thought on “A painting of the “temple of Serapis” / “Aurelian’s temple of Sol Invictus”

  1. I find this very confusing because of the angle. The view seems to be straight toward the Capitoline, where the Altare della Patria now stands. If you position yourself in line with the front of the Temple of Saturn, and take that line of sight as 12 of the clock, wouldn’t you need to look roughly 1:30 to be looking toward the Quirinal and the Palazza Colonna? Also, the painting includes what would certainly, at the very least, be obscured either by modern or 16th century buildings, namely, the same view as in Goree’s pre-1704 drawing. The only thing that close to the temple of Saturn is the base of the temple of Vespasian.

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