Campo Vaccino, Forum Romanum, 1772

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By Piranesi’s day, the grand Roman Forum had become the Campo Vaccino—the “cow field.” Three columns topped by a bit of crumbling entablature were all that remained of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, twins known as the Gemini. According to legend, the brave brothers helped the young republic defeat the last of Rome’s tyrant kings. The temple was dedicated in the year 6 CE. At the far left is the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, completed in 141 CE. Emperor Antoninus dedicated it to his deceased and deified wife, Faustina. For a sense of scale, note that its columns are 56 feet—or about five stories—tall. The pagan structure was largely preserved because centuries later it was converted into a church. In the distance, we can see the Colosseum, the huge ancient Roman amphitheater, and the Basilica of Constantine.

Campo Vaccino, Forum Romanum
Artist Life
Italian, 1720–1778
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind 100 i/iv; Wilton-Ely 233
Curator Approved

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