Roaming Rome

Temple of Hadrian - 1540s

Studies of architectural details from the Baths of Caracalla and the Temple of Hadrian, Rome

Baths of Caracalla and the Temple of Hadrian: Details of the orders and entablatures, 1540s
Artist: Andrea Palladio
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


Renaissance architects, artists and scholars used a great deal of inquiry and imagination in order to illustrate fragmentary ruins. Andrea Palladio delighted in this challenge, visiting Rome on many occasions to engage in empirical study of existing structures.

This sheet shows a number of studies from the spectacular ornament at the Baths of Caracalla and the Temple of Hadrian. On the left is an example of the Composite Order surrounding the open pool of the baths. Opposite is a more subdued example of the Corinthian Order taken from the temple.

From Palladio's time and until World War Two, architectural apprenticeships focused on this ability to survey buildings closely, with drawings of Classical architecture central to a student's education. Palladio's technique of close observations paired with precise dimensions formed the basis of modern technical drawing.


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