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The Colosseum in Rome

Although not traditionally included with the “wonders of the world, ” the print’s text alludes to the Roman poet Martial, who added it to the lexicon. This monument is the only one of the eight wonders that was actually viewed by Heemskerck, who visited Rome around 1532 to 1536. Despite the firsthand experience, the scene is a mixture of fact and exaggeration. While it has some of the correct features, such as the sequencing of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns, the amphitheater is incorrectly shown as round and even more ruined. The building’s scale was further distorted by a huge statue of Jupiter (not mentioned in the ancient literature). Heemskerck adds the edifice’s patron, Emperor Domitian (on horseback in the lower right), who began the construction around AD 72–80. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art has a complete set of the plates in this series (Eskenazi Museum of Art 98.263.1–.8).

Philip Galle
Flemish, 1537–1612
after Maarten van Heemskerck
Dutch, 1498–1574
The Colosseum in Rome, Plate 8 from The Eight Wonders of the World
Engraving on paper
Image/plate: 8 ½ x 10 7/16 in. (21.6 x 26.5 cm); sheet: 11 ¼ x 15 in. (28.6 x 38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.263.8