For millennia Rome has existed as a remarkable physical place with countless historical monuments, art, performance, culture, and so much more. The Eternal City has also manifested as a romantic idea that has captured the imaginations of poets, artists, and many more.
The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City recently opened an intriguing exhibition that explores  — among many other details — the “evolving image of Rome in art and literature.” Featuring a number of rare books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, and even photographs, the exhibition is a magnificent display of the diverse ways in which the ancient metropolis has occupied creative minds for millennia.
The institution continues, “This groundbreaking exhibition considers the ever-evolving identities of Rome during a pivotal period in the city’s history, 1770–1870, when it was transformed from a papal state to the capital of a unified, modern nation. Venerable monuments were demolished to make way for government ministries and arteries of commerce. Building projects and improvements in archaeological techniques revealed long forgotten remnants of the ancient metropolis. A tourist’s itinerary could include magnificent ruins, ecclesiastical edifices, scenic vistas, picturesque locales, fountains, gardens, and side trips to the surrounding countryside.”
Among the notable artworks included in the exhibition are several prints by masters such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi and paintings by Romantic icon J.M.W. Turner. “City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics” opened on June 17 and will be on view through September 11. To learn more, visit The Morgan Library & Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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