in Renaissance, Baroque, Roccoco, Neoclassicism, Realism, and artistic trends that followed etc.

The most impressive triumphal monument ever built, the Trajan's Column is one of the most complete works carved in stone (marble that ) the antiquity has left to us, a fruitful source of study for historians, archaeologists and artists worldwide. The Trajan's Column is forever one of the most famous monuments in Rome. Staring in Quattrocento (the Italian fifteenth century), Trajan's Column attracted the artists’ attention: before Bernini the column was studied by Raffaello Sanzio and Giulio Romano and by all the great masters and it was indeed the source where all the great artists have found the force and the creative greatness for their works1.

In the early sixteenth century, among the first artists of the Italian Renaissance who studied the column was painter Jacopo da Bologna, who even before the year 1506, show a great interest in her reliefs. Then, this monument of antiquity exercised more and more a lively interest and an important influence on the greatest artists of the Renaissance, on the frescoes of Raffaello Sanzio, the famous stanze and the ones of his pupil Giulio Romano from the Vatican; it is known that Michelangelo himself admired the scenes of the Trajan's Column, in front of which he would have exclaimed: "There is only one Trajan's Column! ". Later, in the next century, the style in which reliefs of Trajan's Column were carved by the ancient artists will influence powerful compositions of Caravaggio. The great works of Renaissance becoming more and more under the "influence" of the art of the Column, these reliefs have aroused increasing interest and large-scale studies have been started; even casts were made after these "paintings" of Carara marble. In 1541, the French king, François I, sent the painter Primaticcio to Rome, with the recommendation to make molds after the most beautiful sculptures in marble, and after Trajan's Column. This titanic job was started and led by architect Vignola, he quickly found himself obliged to recognize that this project was too extensive and too costly, and he limited himself to send only a few fragments to satisfy the King’s curiosity. Brought to Fontainbleau, the gypsum disappeared without leaving a trace (nobody knows if they still exist). Likewise, the casts made under the order of King Louis XIV have experienced the same fate; whole the column was molded. The first director of the French Academy, founded under the auspices of Colbert, Ch Errard, supervised the operations, which lasted until 1640. But not all these gypsum casts arrived in France. Some are at Villa Médicis, others have long been kept in the Antiquities Deposit, then in one of the departments of antiquities of the Louvre; a third part is in the Museum of Leyde University (the Netherlands). Parallel to this work of reproduction, a book on Trajan's Column, printed in Rome, will appear for the first time in 1576 (reissued in 1585, 1616): 130 plates engraved by F. Villamena after the drawings (the whole frieze) of Girolamo Muziano (1530-1590), director of the Vatican works, together with a "Commentarium", written by the Spanish scholar Alfonso Chacon (Ciaccone), Historia utriusque belli Dacici a Traiano Caesare gesti, ex simulacris quae in Columna eiusdem Romae visunteur collecta. In 1667 engraver Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635-1700), a pupil of Nicolas Poussin, performed other copper engravings after Trajan's Column, which have been published, accompanied by Chacon's comment, corrected and completed by Peter Bellori: Colonna Traiana eretta dal Senato e Popolo Romano all’ Imperatore Traiano Augusto nel suo Foro in Roma ... We note also the work of Rafaello Fabretti, De Columna Traiana Syntagma, Rome, 1683-1690, and the splendid engravings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), Trofeo o sia magnifica colonna coclide di marmo composta di grossi macigni ove si veggono scolpite le due guerre daciche fatte da Traiano,, Rome, 1776, see also: Vedute delle colonne Antoniana et Trajana, Rome, 19652.

Copies and molds after Trajan's Column preserved and exhibited in varied museums:

- Museo della Civiltà Romana (Room LI: La Colonna Traiana), in Rome, has one of the three sets of copies made in 1861 by Napoleon III, who donated these copies to the Pope Pie IX (there are in total 125 molds made in plaster). The metopes are currently exposed on four lines (which takes place on approx. 200 meters), and allow for a perfect and close (at the eyes level) observation of all reliefs of Trajan's Column;

- The National Museum of Archeology Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France), has a reproduction made by the method galvanoplasty in the 19th century (1865), only the scenes of the bottom of Column, and which are displayed on a wooden drum in the defense ditch of the castle (Saint-Germain-en-Laye);

- Louvre Museum preserves in its collection of casts, which is at Versailles (Petites Écuries de Versailles), approximately one third of all the Column frieze and all the base;

- A complete mold is shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London;

- The National Museum of History in Bucharest, presents a complete cast after Column, made during the WWII3.

The representations of Trajan's Column (overview, architectural study of the column, artistic studies after its historical scenes etc.) in the works of the artistic trends, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Realism, Naturalism etc.., at great artists of a worldwide fame, are very numerous


Pietro Santi Bartoli

Pietro Santi (Santo, Sante) BARTOLI (1635-1700) is an Italian engraver, illustrator and painter, born about the year 1635 in Perugia (Ombria) and deceased in Rome on November 7, 1700. Early Bartoli will leave his hometown and will live in Rome, where he will early start his future artistic career, first by studying painting, becoming a pupil of P. Lemaire and Nicolas Poussin, from whom he learned to draw with taste the ancient monuments. Then he will study the secrets of the engraving art consecrating himself almost exclusively to this art. Also in this period he will work as "antiquarian" in the service of Pope and of Queen Christina of Sweden.

Through the engraving art Bartoli intended to reproduce a series of ancient Greek and Roman monuments in Rome in order to make them more known to the general public. He realized during his artistic life around 12 works (albums), containing nearly 900 drawings, these drawings being remarkable by their accuracy and purity of design. Almost most of these prints were published in Rome, and were generally accompanied by a text written by the scholar Giovan-Peter Belli (1613-1696 – an Italian writer, archaeologist, conservator of antiquities of Rome, historian, art critic, and biographer).

The main publications of Pietro Santi Bartoli are :

  • Admiranda Romanarum antiquitatum ac veteris sculpturae vestigia, Roma, 1693, in-folio, 84 pl. ;
  • Romanae magnitudinis monumenta (138 pl.) ;
  • Veteres arcus Augustorum triumphi insignes, Roma, 1690, in-folio, 40 pl.;
  • Gli antichi sepolcri, avvero mausolei romani ed etruschi trovati in Roma (Tombeaux antiques ou mausolées romains et étrusques trouvés à Rome), 1697, in-folio, 110 pl. ;
  • Le Pitture antiche delle grotte di Roma e del sepolcro de’Nasoni (Peintures antiques des grottes de Rome et du tombeau des Nasons), 1706, in-folio, 75 pl. ;
  • Le antiche lucerne sepolcrati…(Lampes sépulcrale antiques…), in-folio, 110 pl. ;
  • Colonna Traiana eretta dal Senato, e Popolo Romano all'Imperatore Traiano Augusto nel suo foro in Roma, Roma, Gio. Giacomo de Rossi, 1673, in-folio oblong, 127 pl. (outside of the dedication, which was engraved after a work by Charles Errard) ;
  • Colonna Antonina, Gli antichi sepolcri, 1697, in-folio (75 pl.) ;
  • Nummophilacium Reginae Christinae…(Médailler de la reine Christine…), 1742, 63 pl. ;
  • Museum Odescalchum, sive Thesaurus antiquarum gemmarum…(Musée Odescalchi ou Recueil de pierres gravées antiques faisant partie de la collection de la reine Christine), 1747 şi 1751, in-folio, 102 pl. ;
  • Between 1758-1783 un Recueil de peintures antiques was published in Paris, containing copies of Bartoli's colorful drawings, with a description made by P. Mariette şi Comte de Caylus. These drawings, in number of 33, are stored in "Cabinet des estampes», in Paris. Bartoli also made a series of engravings after many modern painters : Raphaël (la Vatican), Lanfranc, Ann. Carrache, Jules Romain, Albane, Fr. Mola,, Cortone, Pietro Testa, etc.

We notice in the Bartoli's engravings, made after many scenes of Trajan's Column, high precision of line and accuracy of details.

Giovanni Paolo Panini

Giovanni Paolo PANINI (or PANNINI) (1691-1765) is an Italian baroque painter; in the first phase of his artistic career Giovanni Paolo Panini will study in the workshops of the major specialists in perspective, working with great artists of the great family Bibiena (Galli da Bibbiena, Italian artists born in the town of Bibbiena, in the province of Arezzo), and begins to concentrate on decorating the palaces in the style of "trompe-l'œil". But he is particularly famous for the paintings "vedute" and "capricci", views that imaginary comprise many real monuments and ruins of ancient Roman.

His style will influence the Venetian artist Canaletto (1697-1768) and artists that followed, adherents of this "artistic movement", and later Hubert Robert (1733-1808) who becomes his student.

In his works, Giovanni Paolo Panini made a series of "vedute ideale", assembling in an imaginary manner several real ancient Roman monuments, as Trajan's Column, Column of Marcus Aurelius, the Arch of Constantine, "Colosseum" ("Amphitheatrum Flavium"), the Pantheon, the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius etc. Style of execution is precise and detailed, the high quality of the detail and of the artistic image is to be appreciated and admired.


Giovanni Battista PIRANESI

Giovanni Battista Piranesi(1720-1778), born on April 10, 1720 at Mogliano Veneto, near Treviso, who died in Rome on November 9, 1778, is an Italian engraver and architect. Known for its beautiful engraved plates wherein he has immortalized the art of Roman antiquity - monuments, sculptural representations of Roman ruins etc. His style is characterized by precision and firmness of drawing, by highlighting the monumental aspect of the works of ancient Roman civilization.

In 1735 Piranesi starts his artistic career by studying architecture with his uncle, Matteo Lucchesi, engineer with "Magistrato Delle Acque of Venise", and the painter Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto, then he attends a school in Venice where he starts to study the engraving art with Carlo Zucchi.

In 1740 he went to Rome to finish his training as engraver with Fellice Polanzoni and especially with Giuseppe Vasi, who teaches him acuaforte process (acid-chemical process) on metal plate. During this period Piranesi starts achieving the first series of plates with various images of ancient Roman ruins and monuments of Rome and other cities in Italy. Artist of a great talent, Piranesi led his art on the highest rungs of artistic perfection, his style not being equaled ever.

In 1773-75 the engravings with the representations of the Column of Trajan and the Column of Marcus Aurelius are published. This great Italian artist had a rich artistic activity, he creating approximately 1,700 large-format drawings gathered in several series of books.


Pierre-Adrien PÂRIS

Pierre-Adrien PÂRIS (1745-1819), was born and died in the town of Besancon in eastern France. He is a French artist who had a long and prestigious career: architect, member of the Royal Academy of Architecture, specialist in "architectural" landscape , collector of antiquities, a designer endowed with much talent, a very enlightened man and with varied passions for Roman antiquity, literature, history, geography, astronomy, botany etc. The first period of its formation takes place between 1750 and 1760 in the scope of his father’s work, who was geometrician, architect and site coordinator. In 1760, Pâris goes to his uncle Jean-Baptiste Lefaivre (master-builder and antrepreneur) in Paris, then he enters in the studio of the architect Louis-François Trouard, who proposed him for the Academy’s competitions. He becomes a student of the Royal Academy of Architecture in 1764 where he will attend the Jacques-François Blondel. From 1765 until 1769, Pâris appears in the Grand Prize of architecture without he to ever win it. With all his attempts, he only get a mention in 1768 for a theater project. But he was remarked by "le premier gentilhomme de la Chambre du roi", Duke of Aumont, who asked for a scholarship in Italy for Pâris. This protection and this trip are the key factors of the extraordinary career of Pâris, who will remain for five years in Rome, from 1769 until 1773. In the capital of the ancient Roman art, the French artist becomes one of the greatest connoisseurs of antiquities of this city and its neighborhoods. Pâris draws not only various ancient monuments, but he also carries out real studies based on these. In Rome he also had occasion to teach architecture to Francesco Piranesi, the son of the great artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and to travel in southern Italy where he visits Cadoue, Paestum, Pompeii and Herculanum. Creating close friendship relations with the abbot of Saint-Non he will cooperate to his work, Voyage pittoresque ou Description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile, which will be printed in Paris in several volumes.

Back in France (1774), haloed by a rare prestige for a young artist, Pierre-Adrien Pâris finds the protection of Duke of Aumont and decorated the suites of his hotel (now the prestigious Hotel Crillon in Place Concorde, in Paris). In 1778 Pâris is appointed, replacing M.-A. Challe, as drawer of the King’s room and office; these important positions bring on him the responsibility to make most of the decors for holidays, funeral processions, theaters etc.

By the end of his life Pâris travels again to Italy, in 1806, where he would see the famous ancient towns in southern of the peninsula.

During the period when he led the French Academy in Rome, appointed by order of Napoleon, he will oversee the transfer of the ancient works of Borghese (Rome) collection to Paris. Effectively, between 1808 and 1809 he will deal with organizing the transport of the antiquities from Villa Borghese for Napoleon who bought this famous collection, one of the most important in Italy, and who desired to carry it to Paris.

Among the many vestiges studied and drawn by Pâris in Rome is also the Trajan's Column, who carried out both overviews and reliefs. The style of Pierre-Adrien Pâris is characterized by an accurate as possible rendering of detail, by precision of line, which is very close to the ancient art style of the period during the reign of Trajan (98-117 AD). His drawings represent true restoration of initial ancient works.


Eugene Emmanuel VIOLLET-LE-DUC

Eugene Emmanuel VIOLLET-LE-DUC (1814-1879), born on January 27, 1814 in Paris and deceased on September 17, 1879 in Lausanne, is a famous French architect best known to the public for his restorations of many famous medieval buildings and he came from a "noble" bourgeois family (his father was a senior official, after 1830, chief conservator of the royal residences of Louis-Philippe). A good self-educated person, he trained himself during his travels in France and Italy made between 1835 and 1839. At the same time he learned the bases of his craft from architect Achille Leclere.

In 1840 Prosper Mérimée, the "General Inspector of Historic Monuments" entrusts on him the restoration of the basilica Sainte-Madeleine Vezelay; he is only 26 years old and this is the beginning of a huge career. Also in 1840, Viollet-le-Duc undertakes with the aid of Jean-Baptiste Lassus the restoration of the cathedral Saint Chapelle, in Paris. In 1844 Lassus et Viollet-le-Duc are the appointed as architects of the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. Then, in 1847, he obtains the permission to restore the cathedrals of Saint-Denis (north of Paris) and Saint-Sernin in Toulouse. The monuments that have been restored by Viollet-le-Duc were numerous, such as: the defense walls of medieval town of Carcassonne, the cathedrals of Amiens, Chartres, Clermont-Ferrand, the close to full reconstruction of the castle of Pierrefonds, etc. etc. But all thesemajor works (these large construction sites) did not prevent him to also build new works much so important and complex: the creation of many religious buildings, private houses in Paris, designing of stained glass windows, funeral monuments etc.

He collected all his research and architectural studies and published them in a comprehensive work entitled, Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du siecle Xie au XVIe, comprising 10 volumes (published between 1854 and 1868), which will add the 6 volumes of Dictionnaire raisonné furniture du français (1858-1875).

In addition to his basic concerns as theoretician and restorer of medieval monuments, Viollet-le-Duc is also a gifted designer with a special talent, author of numerous studies, drawings and watercolors made during his travels. He also went to Rome where he studied ancient Roman monuments, and among these monuments drawn by him was also the Trajan's Column, he reproducing details of this famous monument of a great artistic importance. We notice in these works of art the great quality of his drawings and accuracy and realism of his artistic line; Viollet-le-Duc is a complex self-educated person, with an exceptional physical and mental capacity.

  1. See Salvatore Settis, "La Colonne Trajan: l'Empereur et son public", in RA, 1991, 1, pp. 186-188 and note 2.
  2. Alain Malissard, La Colonne Trajane, images et récit », în Caesarodunum, supliment nr. 19, 1975; Aurel Decei, « Adevăratul chip al regelui Decebal », în Sargeţia, XIV, 1979, p. 71-72 ; Raymond Chevallier, Alain Malissard, « Dix-neuf siècles de découverte de la Colonne Trajane », in Les dossiers de l’archéologie, no. 17, July-August 1976, p. 91 (old reproductions) ; Filippo Coarelli, La Colonna Traiana, 1999, Editore Colombo, Roma, p. VII-VIII ; Radu Vulpe, Columna lui Traian (Trajan’s Column), Bucureşti, CIMEC, 2002, p. 14-15, 108-109
  3. See also Alain Malissard, « Où peut-on voir la Colonne Trajane », în Les dossiers de l’archéologie, nr. 17, July-August 1976, p. 126.