Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Let There be Light-

 Ancient Roman Pottery Lamps- 1728 Dramatic Engraved Print by Bellori.

An engraved print of ancient Roman lamps, probably from Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s 1728 book, “Veterum Lucernae Sepulcrales”. Giovanni Pietro Bellori (1613-1696) was not only a talented artist, he was also an important and prolific biographer of other 17th century artists, and has been called the Vasari of his era. As if that was not enough to keep him occupied, he also acted as Curator of Antiquities to Pope Clement X, and as Librarian and Antiquarian to Queen Christina of Sweden. And obviously he had an interest in ancient Roman antiquities, which tended to pop up every now and again in Renaissance Rome.

Ancient Rome itself had been more or less awash in small pottery oil lamps with stamped decorations, which were used for everything from religious offerings to tourist souvenirs to actual lighting. By the time of the Renaissance these had become sought-after by antiquities collectors, who often published illustrated catalogs of their collections featuring engravings such as this.

Single sheet. About 10.5”x16”, uneven edges, minor age-toning and soil.  $20

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