This site is devoted to the sculpture and architectural remains of ancient Rome that survived the end of the Roman Empire and were potentially or actually available to artists and connoisseurs of the Italian Renaissance. It has been estimated that Italy in this period contained many more ancient buildings and statuary than have survived to this day; sculpture disappeared for many reasons while ancient building materials were often recycled (read "stolen") by later builders. Still, much ancient material remained. This is meant to be a quick reference guide to the most famous works, with one or two images of the sculpture or building and a brief text. A brief bibliography is (or will be) added also.

This page shows a small photograph and a brief description. To view the page devoted to each, just click on the highlighted text.

Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. Bronze. While in its present location on the Piazza del Campodoglio from 1538, it is documented from the tenth century. Many of the ancient bronzes were melted down either for the worth of their material or because they were statues of pagans; this survived because for centuries it was thought to portray the Emperor Constantine, the first Roman Emperor to officially recognize Christianity.

The Apollo Belvedere. So called because of its location in the Belvedere Courtyard, now part of the Vatican Museums Collections. Its Papal ownership can be traced back to 1509.

The Belvedere Torso (two views). This is recorded as being in the collection of Cardinal Colonna, in Rome, from 1432. Sometime after 1506 it entered the Papal collections and was set up in the Belvedere Courtyard.

The Laocoon.  Marble.  Discovered near the
church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome in 1506.  Scholars are still
undecided whether this is indeed the original or a copy of the famous
statue group described by Pliny.  The rediscovery of an ancient sculpture
known previously only through Pliny caused a sensation, and had an
immediate influence on painting and sculpture. 

The Colosseum. Known also as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Built 70-82 A.D. An engineering marvel; it could hold 50,00 spectators and was so well-designed that crowds could move in and out with ease. It had a movable roof for rainy days and its machinery for special effects was state-of-the-art. Renaissance architects were copied its decorative system of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian half-columns.

The Pantheon. Built from 118 to 126 by the Emperor Hadrian, dedicated to "all the gods" in the name of Marcus Agrippa, it has always been recognized as one of the world's great buildings. The interior of the building describes a perfect sphere; the oculus of the dome stands 142 feet above the floor, which is the measurement of the span of the dome. The great height and span were achieved by extraordinary engineering skill, involving the use of light materials such as concrete and pumice and hollowed wall and ceiling recesses. Originally the exterior was faced with marble, fragments of which remain. The building survived the medieval period as the church of Santa Maria ad Martyres. During the Baroque period it was given twin bell towers, which were not removed until the 19th century.

Back to the Italian Renaissance Art Schedule Page

Ancient Italian Remains of Lesser Fame

A Brief Bibliography on Ancient Art Known in the Renaissance

The photographs used here were taken by the owner of this site, or come from public domain sources of various types

This Web site Owned, Created, and Maintained by Adrienne DeAngelis E-mail:

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