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View of Rome from Capitol, 1824
Etching. 550 x 718 mm
Inventory number: E1064
Rome’s Forum was a fascinating place to visit, an ancient treasure chamber and a popular motif for the artists of Thorvaldsen’s day. In this view by Joseph Thurmer, the artist is looking down from the Capitol along the Via Sacra. The Coliseum can be seen on the left of the Via Sacra with Monte Palatino on the right. The Forum had originally been a market square. And not least under Emperor Augustus (63 BC – AD 14) it was the scene of bustling life. However, the site served 15th-century Roman builders as a quarry. This had of course left its mark on what was found when a start was made on excavating the area at the end of the 18th century. A closer look at the print shows cattle grazing among the ruins – quite small figures, slightly to the right of the column, the Focas Column, at the centre. When the print was made, not much progress had been made in excavating the Forum and consideration was being given to the consequences of excavating it all. In 1821, the architect Jørgen Koch (1787-1869) referred to calculations suggesting that it would be necessary to remove 50,000 loads of earth. And one of the problems was future access to the nearest houses.