View of Flavian Amphitheater, called the Colosseum, 1776

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Gladiator combats, wild-animal hunts, executions—all manner of spectacle took place inside the Colosseum, which could hold up to 80,000 people. It was even filled with water to hold mock naval battles. After Rome’s decline, the Colosseum was seen as a ready source of building materials, and people plundered its great façade and interior. The quarrying was stopped in Piranesi’s time by Pope Benedict XIV, who mistakenly believed that the place was a site of Christian martyrdom.

View of Flavian Amphitheater, called the Colosseum
Artist Life
Italian, 1720–1778
Accession Number
William M. Ladd
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind 126 i/iv; Wilton-Ely 259
Curator Approved

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