The Colosseum in Rome
  • Jean Duplessi-Bertaux
  • Paris 1747 - 1819
  • The Colosseum in Rome, 1780
  • Pen and grey ink over pencil, grey wash.
  • signed and dated on the lower left: Berteaux 1780
  • 226 × 386 mm

Through the striking monochromatic nature of this watercolour, the artist was able to accentuate the powerful architecture of the classical ruins.

The vertical order of Emperor Vespasian’s three arcades of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian half-columns continues in the enclosed fourth storey of Corinthian pilasters built by his successor Titus (see cat. no. 20).

The cross over the opened gate on this drawing is the work of Pope Benedict XIV, who made the amphitheatre a centre of the Christian martyr cult in Rome by installing 14 altars in 1749.