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From the Ruins of Emperor Diocletian’s Thermal Baths, First View

It is believed that Cock may have visited Rome around 1546 to 1548, executing his series of twenty-four prints depicting the city’s ancient ruins shortly after his return to Antwerp. These plates were influential in spreading an interest in classical art and architecture throughout northern Europe and England.

Although the Baths of Diocletian (AD 306) were the largest public baths in Rome, the slightly off-kilter perspective, the scale of the running foreground figures, and the “hairy” vegetation in this print almost make them seem quaint and more picturesque than archaeological.

Hieronymus Cock
South Netherlandish, ca. 1510–1570
From the Ruins of Emperor Diocletian’s Thermal Baths, First View (Ex ruinis thermarum imp Diocletiani, prospectis unus), Plate Q from Some Principal Monuments from Ancient Roman Ruins (Praecipua aliquot romanae antiquitatis ruinarum monumenta)
1550 (published 1551)
Etching and engraving on paper
Image: 9 9/16 x 13 1/16 in. (23.0 x 33.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 84.6