Jun 16 Thu 10-11.30am Morgan City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics

“The greatest theater in the world” Garibaldi called the Rome he viewed from the top of the Janiculum Hill in 1849, at the end of a century when great artists and writers been drawn to the city when it was still just the Vatican capital, free of tourist crowds to come and with the ancient ruins scattered prominently throughout to fire their imagination as they painted and drew streets landscapes and ancient sites so full of history.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), Interior of St. Peter’s Basilic,. Watercolor, over traces of pencil, on board. The Morgan Library &
Museum, Thaw Collection. Photography by Steven H. Crossot


City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics
June 17 through September 11, 2016

**Press Preview: Thursday, June 16, 10-11:30 AM**

New York, NY, April, 27, 2016 — During the one hundred year period from 1770 to 1870, often called the Romantic Era, hosts of artists traveled to Rome and witnessed the most dramatic transformation of the Eternal City since ancient times—from papal state to the capital of a unified, modern nation. Painters such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and J. M. W. Turner, writers such as John Keats and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a coterie of early photographers were among those who documented the city’s historical sights and monuments amidst what amounted to a massive project of urban renewal.

City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics, a new exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum opening June 17, explores the broad sweep of artistic responses to this extraordinary period in Rome’s history. Featuring a variety of media—including drawings, prints, books, manuscripts, letters and photographs—the show demonstrates the continuing hold magnificent ruins and scenic vistas had on artists, even as the need for new government buildings and improved transportation would alter some of these sights forever. At the same time, the exhibition looks at work by individuals who found the changing contemporary scene alluring and who captured the evocative interaction between daily street life and the layers of Roman history forever in the backdrop.

“Today, we are fascinated by how rapidly cities change and how neighborhoods go through a cycle of development and destruction, which seems to occur almost overnight,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “City of the Soul brings us to such a moment in one of the world’s greatest cities, Rome, seen from the vantage point of artists, writers, and photographers. The Morgan’s diverse collections of art and literature, supplemented with select loans from public and private sources, allow us to tell this story in a particularly engaging manner.”

View the full press release

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