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History in Review

Ruins of Ancient Rome

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Ruins of Ancient Rome. The Drawings of French Architects Who Won the Prix de Rome 1786-1924. Edited by Massimiliano David and Translated into English by Thomas M. Hartmann. (Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2002. 200 color illustrations, Pg. 223. Slipcased.) ISBN: 0-89236-680-X.

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 26, 2003

The Ruins of Ancient Rome is an exquisite art book that features about 200 illustrations of drawings made by the French Architects who won the Prix de Rome 1786-1924. The Grand Prix de Rome for architecture was a premier student competition, which served to propel the winners to almost instant prominence. This collection offers readers an exceptional glimpse into the architecture of Ancient Rome.

The focus of this book are 'the' plates of the architectural drawings. Rather than staid sketches, these drawings are vibrant works of art that bring the vitality and grandeur of Rome to life. The plates are accompanied by detailed notes, by Massimiliano David and Emidio De Albentiis, which make special note of the architectural components of the structures under study.

Many of these drawings are of actual structures. However, some are purely imaginative works of art. All, however, help to illustrate how these studies helped to influence the evolution of modern architecture. An unexpected benefit of these drawings is that some of them managed to document buildings and monuments that no longer exist.

Besides the plates, this book also includes an introduction by Filippo Coarelli, plus the following essays: In addition to these essays, the plates are also enhanced by the inclusion of a variety of appendices that range from illustrations of models of Ancient Rome to Roman Coins. An extensive bibliography is also included.

The Ruins of Ancient Rome is an oversized book, measuring 10-1/4 X 14-1/2 inches, that comes with a slipcase. This phenomenal book will be of interest to a wide range of scholars, including classicist, historians, and architects. It will also be of interest to artist, archeologist, and general readers with an interest in the Ancient World. Readers will also be interested in the book, Houses and Monuments of Pompeii, a companion book to Ruins of Ancient Rome.

Related Reviews:

Houses and Monuments of Pompeii, By Roberto Cassanelli, Pier Luigi Ciapparelli, Enrico Colle, and Massimiliano David.
A reproduction of Le case i monumenti di Pompeii by Fausto and Felice Niccolini, with over 270 color illustrations and commentary.

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture and History, By Ada Gabucci.
This book contains 200 color illustrations covering all aspects of Ancient Roman art, architecture, and history. In addition, the text offers a general overview of the history of Ancient Rome.

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