The triumphal Arch of Constantine
  • Edmond Clément Marie Duthoit
  • Amiens 1837 - 1889
  • The triumphal Arch of Constantine, 1862/65
  • Watercolour on paper,
  • dedicated and signed with pen and black ink lower left:
    al suo amico caro Douillard / E. Duthoit
  • 240 × 322 mm
Alexis Douillard, Nantes/ Paris (1835-1905)
private collection Nantes

As a close collaborator of the famous architect, painter, and scholar Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879), Edmond Duthoit accompanied his teacher on several expeditions to the Near East. On the way there, they sojourned in Rome in both 1862 and 1865, in order, among other reasons, to study the architecture of antiquity.

The cordial dedication of this sheet is to the painter Alexis M. L. Douillard (1835-1905), who was also in Rome from 1862 to 1865. Duthoit and Douillard knew one another from their hometown of Nantes and appear to have enjoyed their reunion in Italy.

With the exception of small building projects, architectural drawing became Edmond Duthoit’s artistic life’s work. Up until 1879, he even regularly exhibited his views of buildings at the Paris Salon, with subjects taken from both France and the Orient.

The watercolour shown here is a good example of Duthoit’s studies of ancient monuments in Rome. It shows the triumphal arch of Emperor Constantine (283-337 AD), erected in 315 by the Roman Senate in thanks for the victory at the Milvian Bridge, as well as in celebration of the emperor’s ten-year jubilee. Following medieval construction, Pope Paul II had the triumphal arch uncovered for the entry of Emperor Charles V into Rome in 1536. Today it is among the best-preserved structures of the ancient city.