Bird's Eye View of the Flavian Amphitheater, Called the Colosseum (Veduta dell'Anfiteatro Flavio detto il Colosseo)



Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720 - 1778


Bird's Eye View of the Flavian Amphitheater, Called the Colosseum (Veduta dell'Anfiteatro Flavio detto il Colosseo)






19 3/8 x 28 in. (49.2 x 71.1 cm)

Object Number



The fourth of Piranesi's treatments of the Colosseum is one of the most remarkable of his vedute. He reveals the overall plan and the interior as if seen from the air, exposing the masses of masonry that supported the seating. The amphitheater could seat 50,000 people who were grouped by social rank, with the emperor, Vestal Virgins, and senators in the front, behind them the knights and plebeians, and, at the very top, in wooden bleachers, slaves and non-citizens. In the seventeenth century the amphitheater had been dedicated to the cult of Christian martyrs, and this was reaffirmed by Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) in 1750 when he added the tabernacles representing the Stations of the Cross at the edge of the arena with a crucifix in the very center. Contrary to a persistent belief, however, there is no evidence that any Christians were martyred there.
The Views of Rome

Credit Line

Art History Department Fund


Discovering Rome: Maps and Monuments of the Eternal City, Michael C. Carlos Museum, September 16, 2006 - January 14, 2007|
Antichità, Teatro, Magnificenza: Renaissance and Baroque Images of Rome, Michael C. Carlos Museum, August 24, 2013 - November 17, 2013
MCCM Newsletter, March - May, 2004.|
Antichita, Teatro, Magnificenza (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2013), 62 (checklist only).


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
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On View



Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian, 1720 - 1778, “Bird's Eye View of the Flavian Amphitheater, Called the Colosseum (Veduta dell'Anfiteatro Flavio detto il Colosseo),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 11, 2018,

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