Skip to main content
×
×
Home

WHAT FRANCESCO DI GIORGIO SAW ON THE CAPITOLINE HILL C. 1470*

  • Jason Moralee and Kiel Moe
Abstract

Francesco di Giorgio, the Sienese architect and artist, visited Rome c. 1470. By looking at his plan of the ‘porticho del Champitolio’, it is possible to reconstruct not only what Francesco di Giorgio saw on the Monte Tarpeo, but also what Poggio Bracciolini, Flavio Biondo, Pietro del Massaio and others saw there. It was apparently a notable site, an evocative ruin worthy of commentary, artistic representation and imaginative reconstruction. Whatever temple remains continued to be visible, however, these were insufficient to suggest that they were originally part of the temple. By the end of the fifteenth century, the temple had been lost. None the less, Francesco di Giorgio unwittingly documented the last standing columns of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

Francesco di Giorgio, architetto e artista senese, visitò Roma attorno al 1470. Osservando la sua planimetria del ‘porticho del Champitolio’ è possibile ricostruire non solo quello che Francesco di Giorgio vide sulla Rupe Tarpea, ma anche quello che Poggio Bracciolini, Flavio Biondo, Pietro del Massaio e altri videro. Evidentemente la Rupe Tarpea era un sito rilevante, un rudere evocativo degno di nota, di rappresentazione artistica e di ricostruzione di fantasia. Qualsiasi parte residua fosse visibile, essa era comunque insufficiente per rendere possibile il riconoscimento della sua originale pertinenza al tempio. Entro la fine del XV secolo, il tempio andò definitivamente distrutto. Ciononostante Francesco di Giorgio documentò involontariamente le ultime colonne ancora in situ del tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Addresses for correspondence: Professor Jason Moralee, Department of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01060, USA. jmoralee@history.umass.edu
Professor Kiel Moe, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. kmoe@gsd.harvard.edu
Footnotes
Hide All
*

This article benefited from the generous comments of Pier Luigi Tucci, Jessica Maier, Mark Bradley and an anonymous reviewer. We would especially like to thank the American Academy in Rome, where this collaborative project began.

Footnotes
References
Hide All

1 Francesco di Giorgio's sketchbook: P. Nerino Ferri, Indice geografico-analitico dei disegni di architettura civile e militare esistenti nella R. Gallerie degli Uffizi di Firenze (Florence, 1890–7). See the extensive codological description of the Uffizi sketch-book by G. Scaglia, Francesco di Giorgio: Checklist and History of Manuscripts and Drawings in Autographs and Copies from ca. 1470 to 1687 and Renewed Copies (1764–1839) (Bethlehem (PA), 1992), 53–4 (no. 3). Description of the folios: A.S. Weller, Francesco di Giorgio 1439–1501 (Chicago, 1943), 259–68. For a general discussion of Francesco di Giorgio's Uffizi sketch-book, see C.H. Ericsson, Roman Architecture Expressed in the Sketches by Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum 66) (Helsinki, 1980). Now see H. Burns, ‘I disegni di Francesco di Giorgio agli Uffizi di Firenze’, in F.P. Fiore and M. Tafuri (eds), Francesco di Giorgio architetto (Milan, 1993), 330–57. It should be noted that if there had been an original sketch for a ‘palazzo del Champitolio’, it is not among those preserved in the Uffizi sketch-book.

2 Codex 148 Saluzzo was edited first by C. Promis, Vita, catalogo dei codici e trattato di architettura civile e militare di Francesco di Giorgio Martini: catologo analitico de’ codici scritti e figurati di Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Turin, 1841). See now the edition by C. Maltese and L. Maltese Degrassi, Trattati di architettura ingegneria e arte militare, 2 vols (Milan, 1967), I, 275–89, figs 129–86 (for the Monumenti antichi). See also the important notes in Scaglia, Francesco di Giorgio (above, n. 1), 189–92 (no. 80).

3 Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 285, with fig. 163 (‘la sala del chonsilio di Cesari’) and 282, with fig. 151 (‘palazzo del Champitolio’). We thank Pier Luigi Tucci for alerting us to the image of, and his forthcoming work on, ‘la sala del chonsilio di Cesari’. The two images are separated in the manuscript and seem not to have been done with a total conception of the hill in mind.

4 Text: Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 282, with fig. 151. Here and throughout we print the text of the Maltese and Maltese Degrassi edition. The drawing was first published and discussed by Lanciani, R., ‘Tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo’, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma 3 (1875), 165–89, tav. XVII–XVIII, again in R. Lanciani, Storia degli scavi di Roma, I (1000–1530) (Rome, 1902; reprinted 1989), 91–2, fig. 33.

5 Codex 148 Saluzzo, fol. 71, Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 275: ‘Unde mosso da huno aceso desiderio di volere quelle innovare’. Scaglia discussed Francesco di Giorgio's motivations as revealed in this quotation, Francesco di Giorgio (above, n. 1), 53.

6 See, for example, the drawing on the folio following the ‘palazzo del Champitolio’: Codex Saluzzo 148, fol. 82v, Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 282–3, fig. 152. This drawing is a plan of the ‘palatio Maggiore in Roma’. Though Francesco di Giorgio included measurements, presumably made on site, the plan is a fantasy of part of the imperial palace on the Palatine Hill. Like the drawing of the ‘palazzo del Champitolio’, Francesco di Giorgio included the following notation: ‘In più parte chopiato et parte agionto a fantasia che per le molte ruine in tucto conprendar non si può’.

7 Lanciani, ‘Tempio di Giove’ (above, n. 4), 174–6.

8 Rosa, P., ‘Scavi capitolini’, Annali dell'Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica (1865), 382–6.

9 Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 282. An anonymous reviewer suggests that Maltese and Maltese Degrassi's ‘ar tenpo’ should instead read ‘attenpo.’

10 P. Ciancio Rossetto, ‘Theatrum Marcelli’, in E.M. Steinby (ed.), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae V (R–Z) (Rome, 1999), 32.

11 Lanciani, ‘Tempio di Giove’ (above, n. 4), 175.

12 Lanciani, Storia degli scavi (above, n. 4), I, 91–2.

13 Lanciani, ‘Tempio di Giove’ (above, n. 4), 175. R.T. Ridley, ‘Unbridgeable gaps: the Capitoline temple at Rome’, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma 106 (2005), 83–104, has discussed the heated scholarly debates on the size of the temple platform.

14 See Sommella, A. Mura, ‘Le recenti scoperte sul Campidoglio e la fondazione del tempio di Giove Capitolino’, Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia di Archeologia 70 (1997), 5779, at p. 78 n. 48.

15 Ridley, ‘Unbridgeable gaps’ (above, n. 13), 102, has dated and listed the various scholarly opinions on the platform's dimensions.

16 Sommella, A. Mura, ‘La grande Roma dei Tarquini’: alterne vicende di una felice intuizione’, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma (2000), 726, at pp. 20–6. We base all our plans of the temple platform on Sommella's fig. 25, p. 25, and J. Hopkins, ‘The colossal Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in archaic Rome’, in S. Camporeale, H. Dessales and A. Pizzo (eds), Arqueología de la construcción 2: procesos constructivos en el mundo romano: Italia y provincias orientales (Siena, Certosa di Pontignano, 13–15 noviembre de 2008) (Archivo Español de Arqueologia suplemento 57) (Madrid/Mérida, 2010), 15–33. G. Tagliamonte, ‘Iuppiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus, Aedes, Templum (fino all'a. 83 a.C.)’, in E.M. Steinby (ed.), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae III (H–O) (Rome, 1996), 147, gives 53.5 × 62.25 m, similar to Sommella's platform dimensions excluding the additional space behind the cellae.

17 Velleius Paterculus 2.3.1: ‘porticus in Capitolio’.

18 See discussion in C. Reusser, ‘Area Capitolina’, in E.M. Steinby (ed.), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae I (A–C) (Rome, 1993), 115.

19 C. Hülsen (ed.), Libro di Giuliano di Sangallo, Codice Vaticano Barberiniano Latino 4424 (Leipzig, 1910), fol. 1v, pl. 1, discussed at p. 77 in a list of errata and corrigenda. Here, Hülsen added the identification of Francesco di Giorgio's portico as that drawn later by Giuliano di Sangallo. This is puzzling. Giuliano di Sangallo's portico bears almost no resemblance to the plan sketched by Francesco di Giorgio. Porticus Crinorum: Mirabilia urbis Romae 23, R. Valentini and G. Zucchetti (eds), Codice topografico della città di Roma, 3 (Rome, 1946), 51. Sommella, ‘Le recenti scoperte sul Campidoglio’ (above, n. 14), 78. Most place the porticus Crinorum at the base of the Capitoline Hill in the Forum Holitorium, for example, D. Kinney, ‘Fact and fiction in the Mirabilia Urbis Romae’, in É. Ó Carragain and C. Newman de Vegvar (eds), Roma Felix: Formation and Reflections of Medieval Rome (Aldershot, 2007), 235–52, at pp. 246–7. In their notes, the editors Corrado Maltese and Livia Maltese Degrassi stated that Francesco di Giorgio's ‘porticho del Champitolio’ perhaps could be identified as the Porticus Minuciae: Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 282.

20 Cecchelli, C., ‘Il Campidoglio nel medioevo e nella rinascita’, Archivio della Reale Deputazione Romana di Storia Patria 67 (1944), 209–32, summarized the literary sources, suggesting that Christian associations with the site of Santa Maria in Aracoeli influenced the move toward the Arx. For the evolution of the hill as a place of justice, still useful is Re, C., ‘Il Campidoglio e le sue adiacenze nel secolo XIV’, Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma (1882), 94125.

21 D'Apricena, M. Brancia, ‘L'abbazia benedettina di Santa Maria de Capitolio’, Benedictina 43 (1996), 153–71, provided a recent and useful survey of the origins of the church-monastery on the Arx and its development into the thirteenth century.

22 Poggio Bracciolini, De Varietate Fortunae, 1.1; J.-Y. Boriaud (ed.), Les ruines de Rome: De Varietate Fortunae, Livre I (Paris, 1999), 11. Admittedly, it is equally possible that Poggio Bracciolini used limen to mean a threshold and not a lintel.

23 Flavio Biondo, Roma instaurata 52; R. Valentini and G. Zucchetti (eds), Codice topografico della città di Roma, 4 (Rome, 1953), 299.

24 A.P. Frutaz, Le piante di Roma, 3 vols (Rome, 1962), pianta LXXXVII, tav. 157 (described in I, 137–8); pianta XC, tav. 160 (described in I, 142–4). See J. d'Angiolo de Florence (ed.), Géographie de Ptolémée: reproduction réduite des cartes et plan du Mss latin 4802, Bibliothèque Nationale, Départment des Manuscrits (Paris, 1926), 23 and pl. LXIX. Discussion: Scaglia, G., ‘The origin of an archaeological plan of Rome by Alessandro Strozzi’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 27 (1964), 137–63, at pp. 137–8 and n. 4, with further references.

25 Frutaz, Piante di Roma (above, n. 24), piante LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, LXXXIII, tav. 148, 149, 150, 154 (described in I, 123–7, 133). These structures have been variously interpreted: Pietro del Massaio's lines form either a Renaissance gallows or ‘the last remains of the Capitoline Temple’. Gallows: Stevenson, E., ‘Di una pianta di Roma dipinta di Taddeo di Bartolo nella cappella interna del Palazzo del Comune di Siena ca. 1413–1414’, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma (1881), 74105, at p. 95; E. Rodocanachi, The Roman Capitol in Ancient and Modern Times, trans. F. Lawton (New York, 1906), 98; Frutaz, Piante di Roma (above, n. 24), I, 124–6. Temple remains: F.M. Nichols, Mirabilia Vrbis Romae, The Marvels of Rome or A Picture of the Golden City (London, 1889), 190.

26 M. Fernández Gómez (ed.), Codex Escurialensis 28-II-12: libro de dibujos o antigüedades (Madrid, 2000), 115 and the accompanying facsimile volume at fol. 56v.

27 H. Jordan, Topographie der Stadt Rom in Alterthum, 2 vols (Berlin, 1871–85), I.2, 73 and n. 70.

28 Lanciani, Storia degli scavi (above, n. 4), I, 68. Documents illustrating renovations to the Palazzo Senatorio in the pontificate of Nicholas V (1447–55): E. Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes pendant le XVe et le XVIe siècle, 3 vols (Paris, 1878–82), I, 146–50.

29 Lanciani, Storia degli scavi (above, n. 4), I, 80.

30 For Zabaglia, see S. Turriziani, ‘La Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano: istituzione esemplare del ‘saper fare’ nei secoli XVII–XVIII’, in A. Marino (ed.), Sapere e saper fare nella Fabbrica di San Pietro: Castelli e ponti di maestro Niccola Zabaglia 1743 (Rome, 2008), 107–24, at pp. 139 and 143 using, apparently, the same figures as those reported in S. La Colla, ‘Metrici, sistemi’, in G. Gentile (ed.), Enciclopedia italiana, Appendice I (Rome, 1938), 844, 847.

31 R. Lanciani, Storia degli scavi, 2 (1531–49) (Rome, 1903; reprint 1990), 99: ‘colonne erano di marmo Pentellesio, ma come havemo veduti alcuni suoi fragmenti erano nove piedi grosse di diametro, portate per l'opera del santissimo tempio di san Pietro’.

32 1544–6: G. Cascioli, ‘I monumenti di Roma e la Fabbrica di San Pietro’, Dissertazione della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, series II, vol. 15 (1921), 363–83, at pp. 372–3 with n. 55: ‘E più la giornata e consumatura dj corda andata a tirar fuora la colonna di marmo del cafarello in campjdoglio monta in tutto ∆ 20 b.-’. 1548: Lanciani, Storia degli scavi, 2 (above, n. 31), 146. See now D. Karmon, The Ruin of the Eternal City: Antiquity and Preservation in Renaissance Rome (Oxford/New York, 2011) for the increasing interest in the preservation of ancient monuments in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

33 F. Vacca, Memorie di varie antichità trovate in diverse luoghi della città di Roma scritte da F. V. nell'anno 1594, 64, published first in 1704 and then by F. Nardini, Roma antica, fourth edition, vol. 4 (Rome, 1820), 28. Lanciani, ‘Tempio di Giove’ (above, n. 4), 187–8, was the first to discuss Vacca's ‘memoria’ in relation to the finds of fragments of colossal capitals from the site.

34 S. De Angeli, ‘Iuppiter Optimus Maximus, Aedes (fasi tardo-repubblicane e di età imperiale)’, in E.M. Steinby (ed.), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae III (H–O) (Rome, 1996), 153, discussed the sources and modern literature on the columns.

35 Though debated, the lateral intercolumniations of the temple's portico are estimated to be 9–9.5 m. See Ridley, ‘Unbridgeable gaps’ (above, n. 13), 99–101; J.W. Stamper, The Architecture of Roman Temples: the Republic to the Middle Empire (Cambridge, 2005), 24–32, has discussed the problem of large interaxial spans and offers a new interpretation. Contra Stamper is Hopkins, ‘The colossal Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus’ (above, n. 16). Our present study seems to support the standard scholarly view, represented by Sommella and Hopkins among others, that the lateral intercolumniations were indeed c. 9 m.

36 For the sake of argument, the ‘Maison Carrée’ in Nîmes would fit Francesco di Giorgio's matrix, even though this hexastyle temple purportedly used the non-standard ‘Drusian foot’ as its basis of measurement. See Anderson, J.C. Jr, ‘Anachronism in the Roman architecture of Gaul: the date of the Maison Carrée at Nîmes’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 60 (2001), 6879, at p. 72.

37 Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 282. Lanciani, ‘Tempio di Giove’ (above, n. 4), 175–6, discussed the inscriptions as directional indicators.

38 Ps.-Bede, De Septem Mundi Miraculis, J.P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina (Paris, 1844–55) 90, cols 961–2; Cosmas of Jerusalem, Commentarii in Sancti Gregorii Nazianzeni Carmina, J.P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae cursus completus, series Graeca (Paris, 1857–66) 38, col. 546. See Moralee, J., ‘A hill of many names: the Capitolium from late antiquity to the Middle Ages’, Acta ad Archeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia 26 (2013), 4770, at pp. 59–60.

39 Mirabilia Urbis Romae 23, Valentini and Zucchetti (eds), Codice topografico della città di Roma, 3 (above, n. 19), 51.

40 Graphia Aureae Urbis 31, Valentini and Zucchetti (eds), Codice topografico della città di Roma, 3 (above, n. 19), 89.

41 Valentini and Zucchetti (eds), Codice topografico della città di Roma, 3 (above, n. 19), 3–196.

42 R.L. Benson, ‘Political renovatio: two models from Roman antiquity’, in R.L. Benson and G. Constable (eds), Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century (Cambridge (MA), 1982), 339–86, esp. pp. 351–5; Diefenbach, S., ‘Beobachtungen zum antiken Rom im hohen Mittelalter: städtische Topographie als Herrschafts- und Erinnerungsraum’, Römische Quartalschrift 97 (2002), 4088, at pp. 64–8.

43 Maier, J., ‘Leonardo Bufalini and the first printed map of Rome, ‘The Most Beautiful of All Things’’, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 56–7 (2011–12), 243–70, esp. pp. 255–63.

44 Maltese and Maltese Degrassi (eds), Trattati (above, n. 2), I, 278, tav. 139. See Buddensieg, T., ‘Die Konstantinsbasilika in einer Zeichnung Francescos di Giorgio und der Marmorkoloss Konstantins des Grossen’, Münchner Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst 13 (1962), 3748.

* This article benefited from the generous comments of Pier Luigi Tucci, Jessica Maier, Mark Bradley and an anonymous reviewer. We would especially like to thank the American Academy in Rome, where this collaborative project began.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Papers of the British School at Rome
  • ISSN: 0068-2462
  • EISSN: 2045-239X
  • URL: /core/journals/papers-of-the-british-school-at-rome
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed