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All Roads Lead to Rome: New Museum Exhibition

All Roads Lead to Rome: 17th-19th Century Architectural Souvenirs from the Collection of Piraneseum

New exhibition presents more than seventy artworks and models depicting the views and architecture of Rome, including etchings by master printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) and oil-on-canvas paintings by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691–1765)

It is difficult to imagine modern Western civilization without the context of ancient Rome, the Eternal City.  Rome was the world’s largest city from circa 100 BCE to 400 CE, and the cultural and political center of an empire lasting for more than a millennium.  Its territory encompassed nearly fifty 21st century nations that owe much of their culture, religion, political systems, and infrastructure to Roman models.  Arguably, Rome resonates most potently in its enduring architectural forms and public monuments, which were first widely disseminated in a very familiar method —through tourism.

All Roads Lead to Rome presents more than seventy artworks depicting Roman architecture and monuments.  Most document structures and views as they existed in antiquity, while others depict them as they appeared at the time of the artworks’ creation.  And some, like the imaginative capriccio paintings, present fantasy structures or combine real monuments in fanciful views.  Many are true souvenirs for visitors to Rome wishing to return home with symbols of their cultural inheritance, while a select few were made singularly as commission proposals or elaborate gifts.  All, however, convey the essence of Rome’s splendid architecture, and the timeless grandeur of its ruins.

All objects are from the Collection of Piraneseum.  Special thanks to guest curators David Weingarten and Lucia Howard for their generosity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.flysfo.com/museum/exhibitions/all-roads-lead-rome for more information.  #AllRoadsRome @SFOMuseum