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A Contribution of Andrea Palladio to the Study of Roman Thermae Author(s): Laetitia La Follette Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of the

Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1993), pp. 189-198 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/990785 . Accessed: 23/04/2012 16:06
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A Contribution of Andrea Palladio to the Study of Roman Thermae

LAETITIA LA FO LLETTE University of Massachusetts-Amherst delleTerme spanned most of Palladio's adult life, and the resulting sketches, plans, elevations, and sections constitute the most important single group of Palladio's drawings of ancient structures. Unfortunately, it was only 150 years after Palladio's death in 1580 that the first publication of any of these bath studies appeared.2In 1730, Lord Burlington presented a selection of Palladio's finished drawings, which were generally plans paired with elevations and sections. Our drawing, a rough sketch plan, was not included in Burlington's book. Rodolfo Lanciani first recognized the drawing's importance and published a tracing of it in 1897.3 Lanciani correctly identified the drawing as a plan of the Baths of Trajan Decius, built in Rome in the midthird century A.D. The first photographic reproduction of the Palladio drawing dates to 1959, when G. Zorzi published and illustrated the entire corpus of Palladio's drawings of ancient buildings.4 Since the late nineteenth century, the bulk of these drawings has been kept in the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, where they were cleaned and remounted in the 1970s. As a result of this conservation work, far more can now be read than was possible on the basis of Zorzi's illustrations. Palladio'sdrawings of imperial thermae include ground plansboth site sketches and reconstructed plans-and reconstructed elevation and section drawings. That the drawings in the latter group are not archaeologically accurate has long been recognized, for they quite clearly do not represent the state of the remains as Palladio saw them, but rather his own inventive reconstructions of facades and roofing. The plans, on the other 2. Richard andCork,Fabbriche Antiche Boyle,4th Earlof Burlington da Andrea PalladioVicentino disegnate (London, 1730). For a general discussion of Palladio's see G. Zorzi, I drawingsof imperialthermae, delle Antichitd diAndrea Palladio Disegni (Venice,1959),64-73 (hereafter cited as I Disegni). Palladio, Accordingto Spielmann, (Andrea 66), the collectionof bath studiesacquired by LordBurlingtonfrom the collectionpreserved at the Villa Barbaro at Maserrepresents one quarter of Palladio's datesfor the drawingsof ancientbuildings.Spielmann's havenot beenwidely accepted, andmuchwork still needsto drawings be done on the dating of the individualsheets. See D. Lewis, The Palladio D.C., 1981), 3-10 and 129Drawings of Andrea (Washington, 40 (hereafter cited as TheDrawings). 3. R. Lanciani, The RuinsandExcavations Rome(Boston of Ancient andNew York, 1897, repr.1967), 542-47 with Figure210. 4. Zorzi,I Disegni, 73; our drawingis his Figure145. 189

AndreaPalladio's measured plan of a bath complexon the Aventine Hill in Rome is of considerable interestin view of current skepticism about the archaeological studies Palladio's baths. This accuracy of of article shows the is own that the result Palladio's first survey drawing of of this complex,theBaths of TrajanDecius (A.D. 249-51); secondly it demonstrates the accuracy and thirdly, of Palladio'smeasurements; on the basisof Palladio'sinscription on theplan, it redates thedrawing to Palladio's last trip to Rome in 1554, and arguesthat Palladio learned and archaeologist, of the complex from theRomanantiquarian Pirro Ligorio. The plan of the Baths of Decius thus illustratesthat Palladio'sinterestin Roman bathswent beyondthe mostfamousexofthermae in Rome.His surveyisshownto havebeen amples extremely accurate in measuring the remains while his inscription of this complex, indicatesthat he sought the most up-to-date(albeit erroneous) antithe lesser-known monuments he drew. quarianinformationfor

of imperial thermae is the

sketch plan of a bath complex on the Aventine Hill, catalogued as RIBA XV/1lv in the collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects in London (Figs. 1 and 2). This plan, visible on the top half of Figure 2, has been overlooked in the debate on the archaeological accuracy of Palladio's studies of baths.l Our plan belongs to a group of studies of imperial thermae that Palladio intended for publication. The preparationfor this Libro This articleis partof a largerstudyof the Bathsof TrajanDecius on the AventineHill in Rome, forthcomingin theJournal Arof Roman 7. I am gratefulto the Faculty Series Number chaeology, Supplementary ResearchCouncil of the Universityof Massachusetts at Amherstfor financial which allowedme to present an earlier versionof this support, Conference on RomanBathsin Bath, paperat the FirstInternational in March of 1992.Thanks arealsodueHoward Burns(Harvard England andDouglasLewis(NationalGalleryof Art)for theirhelp University) of this drawing. with the specialproblems 1. On the questionable of manyof Palladio's of accuracy drawings thoseof thermae, seeJ. Ackerman, Palladio antiquities, particularly (HarAndrea Palladio mondsworth, 1966, repr.1978), 171-72; H. Spielmann, unddieAntike: und der ausseinem Nachlass Untersuchung Katalog Zeichnung cited as Andrea E. Forssman, Palladio); (Berlin, 1966), 67 (hereafter "Palladio e l'antichiti,"Mostra delPalladio-Vicenza/Basilica Palladiana (Milan, 1973), 20, and A. Nesselrath,"Monumenta AntiquaRomae. Ein illustrierter Rom-Traktat des Quattrocento," und Antikenzeichnung Antikenstudium inRenaissance und R. Harprath andH. Wrede, Friihbarock, eds. (Mainz,1989), esp. 36. I thankA. Nesselrath for bringingthe last title to my attention. JSAH LII:189-198. JUNE 1993


JSAH, LII:2, JUNE 1993

Fig. 1. AndreaPalladio,folio RIBAXV/11 recto,London,(?) 1554, of British of the BritishArchitectural Library, RoyalInstitute courtesy London.The upperhalfof the sheetshowsa partial Architects, planof on the Palatine Hill in Rome,inscribed the Flavian down) (upside palace
termedi palaciomazore.

hand, have been relied upon since their initial publication in 1730, on the grounds that much more of the bathswas preserved in the sixteenth century. However, students of Palladio now realize that at least some of these plans do not appear to have been based on Palladio's own survey of the remains, but on previous graphic sources, earlier plans that Palladio studied and copied in the studio. Now that the reliability of the plans as a group is subject to scrutiny, it becomes especially important to distinguish between the types of plans executed by Palladio which have come down to us. While the dating and evaluation of Palladio's bath plans are still very much in progress, a better understanding of his working methods should help to distinguishbetween those plans 5. For a discussion of some of Palladio's sources,see H. Burns,"I 136 and Lewis, TheDrawings, 28. Lewis is one of the few who has to distinguish betweenPalladio's attempted systematically archaeologandhis drawings reconstructions, icallyaccurate plans,his morefanciful basedon earlierprototypes, see for examplehis discussion on pp. 131
and 137 of catalogue numbers 75 and 80. disegni," Mostradel Palladio-Vicenza/BasilicaPalladiana(Milan, 1973),

based on earlier andthosewhichreflect hisown survey drawings of the remains. At present,we can distinguish threesuccessive when he surveyed and stagesin Palladio's workingprocedure drew a building.These includea firststagein which a sketch of the buildingwas drawnfreehandon the site and liberally annotated with measurements; a secondstagein which the field sketchwas transcribed directlywith the aid of a straightedge and other equipmentback in the studio;and a third stage in which this cleanpreparatory into drawingwas then translated a reconstructed of the In some the reconcases, plan complex.6 structed elementsof this final-stage planwouldbe distinguished fromthose elementsPalladiohadactuallyseen on the site, but more often they were not. This schematicsummary simplifiesPalladio's workingprocedureto a certain since alteration to andelaboration of extent, the plan of a Romanbuildingcould take place at any of the three stages,as Palladiosought to makesenseof the plan and to experiment with reconstructions.7 not all three Furthermore, are documented for drew: bath Palladio workingstages every for some it is the freehandsite sketchwhich is missing (for for Diocletian,andConstantine); example,the Bathsof Trajan, others it is the preparatory studio drawing(for example,the Bathsof Nero/SeverusAlexander).8 And for still others,only one stageof the three-part is preserved. Thus, drawing sequence for the Bathsof Helena,we have only the preparatory studio drawing(stagetwo); for the Bathsof Decius in Figure2, and examinedhere, we have only Palladio'sfreehandsite sketch of eachof Palladio's (stageone).9Althoughthe reliability plans must be provenon an individual basis,on the whole it is the freehand sitesketches whichseemto incorporate theleastamount of alteration to the remains seen Palladio andshould actually by therefore be considered the most reliable. Palladio'sdrawingof the Baths of Decius belongs to the site sketches,which I have called"stage categoryof freehand one"in Palladio's Whetheror not typicalsurveying procedure. Palladio everprogressed beyondthis firststagefor the Bathsof Decius cannot,at present,be determined. Possiblyhe did not, for the remains of the complexcannotbe classified amongthe most impressive ruinsin sixteenth-century Rome. All author6. G. De Angelis D'Ossat, "Invito allo studio dei 'Disegni delle delCentro Bollettino internazionale distudi diarchitettura Andrea Antichita'," 21 (1979):41-53, esp. 46-47. Palladio 7. One clearexample of suchexperimentation is the freehand studio whichplayswith various reconstructions of theBathsof Agripdrawing Andrea 72, Fig. 142; Spielmann, pa (RIBAVII/6v): Zorzi, I Disegni, 131. 79-81, 166-67, andFig. 103; Lewis,TheDrawings, Palladio, 8. Bathsof Trajan, Andrea Zorzi,I Disegni, 67, Fig. 106;Spielmann, 74-75, 163 (cat.nos. 168-69); Diocletian: Palladio, Zorzi,IDisegni, 70, Andrea 71-72, 162 (cat. no. 156), Fig. Palladio, Fig. 126; Spielmann, Andrea 86; Constantine: Zorzi, I Disegni, 64-65, Fig. 84; Spielmann, Palladio, 75-77, 164 (cat. no. 175), Fig. 97; Baths of Nero/Severus reconstructed Alexander, 66, Fig. 96; Spielmann, plan:Zorzi,I Disegni,
AndreaPalladio,166 (cat. no. 185), Fig. 99; sketch plan: Zorzi, I Disegni, Fig. 97; Spielmann, AndreaPalladio, 165 (cat. no. 177). 9. Baths of Helena: Zorzi, I Disegni, 72, Fig. 144.






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fo"io RIBA XV/1 1verso,London, )1554, courtesy of theBritish Architectural 2. Andrea Palladio, Fig. Fig.2. London,(?)1554,courtesy the Architectural ish of Andreaoyal Institute of British Architects, baths Institute of British London. Theplan Architects, Aventine baths is at thetop, Royal planof theAventine Library, variane The bottomhalf of the sheetrepresents inscribed su lo aventino. antiquities (upsidedown) terme at Zagarolo). in andaroundRome (Pantheon, Templeof the Sun,Amphitheater ities agree in assigning the existing sketch to Palladio's own hand; since it is both autographed and has no known graphic source, it appears to be an on-site study by Palladio himself.10 As I shall show, the detailed measurements on the drawing confirm that the survey represented is Palladio's own. A comparison of Palladio's measurements with those of the remains still visible on the site today further demonstrates the high degree of accuracyof Palladio's survey. Finally, Palladio's identifying inscription for the complex provides insight into his antiquarian sources and furnishes us with a probable date for the drawing. Let us turn, therefore, to examine the sheet itself.

10. Zorzi,I Disegni, Andrea 83 and 168, cat. 73; Spielmann, Palladio, no. 197. Both Dr. HowardBurnsandDr. ArnoldNesselrath havetold me privately underdiscussion are they haveno doubtthatthe drawings in the handof Andrea Palladio.


JSAH, LII:2, JUNE 1993

The drawing Palladio's plan of the Baths of Decius was sketched in iron gall ink on a sheet 425 mm high and 279 mm wide.11The plan itself measures 102 x 185 mm and, as currently mounted, occupies the upper half of the verso of the sheet (Fig. 2). It is seen in detail in Figure 3. The sheet was originally folded in half, probably to facilitate drawing on a sketchboardin the field, thus creating a total of four drawing quadrants,two on the recto and two on the verso, each about the size of an eight-and-a-half by eleven inch page. The measurements and legends in each quadrant read as if Palladio rotated the sheet as he drew. A secondary crease, running vertically, may have been produced when the sheet was folded for transportationor storage. Both handwriting and ink seem consistent throughout. There are no obvious instances of later notations, additions, or corrections in another hand. In the upper half of the recto (Fig. 1) are two measured sketches of parts of the Flavian palace or Domus Augustana on the Palatine Hill in Rome, labelled termedi palaciomazore.The lower half is devoted to measured profiles of decorated column bases at Frascati (questabasasie afrascata);in the Baths of Nero in Rome (in le termedi neron),and a third location (basach'e a S[anta] maria de trastevere).'2 The verso, Figure 2, shows our sketch with its inscription upside down in the upper half, while in the lower half are represented a number of different monuments. Moving clockwise from the bottom left, these include a plan of one of the triangular staircases in the Pantheon in Rome (scaladi s[anta] mariarotonda); an elevation of the portico of the Temple of the Sun, also in the Campus Martius in Rome dedomiciano); a section of the dome of the Pantheon (dela basilica 11. The information on the compositionof the ink and the measurements of thedrawing wasgraciously by the RIBADrawing provided
collection staff. 12. The transcriptionsdiffer slightly from those given by Zorzi and Spielmann, cf. Zorzi, I Disegni, 61 (no. 15.2), p. 73 (no. 9.2), 77 (no. 5.6), 98-99 (nos. 6.1 and 1.1), and 104-5 (no. 2.4) with Figs. 145 and 242; Spielmann, AndreaPalladio, 166 (no. 187), 168 (nos. 197 and 199).

Two of the fourbasessketchedon the rectocome from third-century bathsin Rome.The one in the Bathsof Nero is late Severan, sincethat
complex was entirely rebuilt under Severus Alexander (A.D. 222-35), while the base in Sta. Maria in Trastevere should be associated with the

material takenfromthe libraries in the Bathsof Caracalla which were in Sta. Mariain Trastevere," Art "Spoliafrom the Bathsof Caracalla Bulletin68 (1986): 386-87, with Fig. 23. Thus Palladio's choice of on this sheet is hardlyrandom: monuments at least half of the architecturerepresented datesto the obscure yearsof the thirdcentury (recto: basefromthe libraries of the Bathsof Caracalla, A.D. 218-35; basefrom Bathsof Nero/Severus A.D. 222-35; verso: Bathsof Trajan Alexander, Decius,A.D. 249-51; porticoesof Aurelian's Temple of the Sun, A.D.
270-75.) also completed under the later Severans (A.D. 218-35), see D. Kinney,

showing the annular rings (marked son gradi 18), and a plan of the amphitheater at Zagarolo, near Palestrina(a zagaroloi[n]terna Also shown vigna dels[ignore]camilocolona/ sia questoanfiteatro). are another elevation, perhaps of another section of the portico of the Temple of the Sun, and a schematic semi-circular ground plan, both without identifying captions. The fact that all of the monuments drawn on the sheet are located in or around Rome suggests that the drawings were made during one of Palladio's trips to Rome, and therefore in or before 1554, the date of his last visit there.13 The lack of known plans of the Aventine complex earlier than this one by Palladio, coupled with the fact that the sketch was done freehand on a folded sheet of paper and is covered with detailed measurements, leads to the supposition that our plan is a field drawing, the result of Palladio's own survey of the site. Two measurements in particularsupply corroborating evidence. The first is visible at the right edge of the plan on the verso (Fig. 2) and the bottom of the detail (Fig. 3). It reads p, for per[tiche],9 p[iedi] 1/2. The perticais a unit of six feet in many independent North Italian measuring systems; in Vicentine feet, each of which measures 0.357394 m), the dimension 9 pertiche11/2 feet comes out to 55.5 Vicent"-e feet or 19.83 meters.14 The other dimension is also legible on Figure 2, above the circular room at the top of the drawing on the left side. It consists of the number "25" positioned sideways, from top (left) to bottom (right). Only the number is visible here. These two dimensions, 19.83 m and 53.60 m, indicate the position of the bath complex as measured out to unidentified fixed points. Such measurements are a standardfeature of any site survey, but they would have been useless information to copy from a previous drawing. Finally, just above the bath complex on Figure 2, midway between its two rotundas,is a faintly sketched rectangle. This rectangle seems to be an existing fabric on the northeast side of Piazza del Tempio di Diana. These three features thus help to confirm the drawing as a survey sketch by Palladio. Palladio provides a measurement for the overall width of the complex, legible at the bottom of the sketch on Figure 2, and on the left side on the detail, Figure 3, as per[tiche] 32 p[iedi] 5, or seventy meters. He also supplies detailed measurements for nearly every room drawn here. In order to arrive at a depth of the complex from front to back, we must add up the dimensions given for the individual rooms and wall thicknesses at the top of the detail, Figure 3. Palladio measured the inside of many of 13. Zorzi, I Disegni,17; see also L. Puppi,Andrea Palladio (English translation, London,1975), 13-14, 19 and 231 on the chronologyof Palladio's cited as Palladio). tripsto Rome (hereafter 14. On the sizeof the Vicentine Italian foot, see,R.E.Zupko, Weights andMeasures 1981), 189-92. (Philadelphia,

Fig. 3. Andrea Palladio, detail of folio RIBA XV/11 verso, bath sketch plan, London, (?) 1554, courtesy of the British Architectural Library,Royal

Instituteof BritishArchitects, London.Note the detailedmeasurements in Vicentinefeet. (The detailhasbeen rotated90 degrees.)






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" .


JSAH, LII:2, JUNE 1993

di Giambattista Nollidel1748, afterthe Vatican City editionof 1932. North is at the top, with Fig. 4. Detail of the AventineHill, fromLapianta at upperright.The site of the bathsis shownat no. 1078, in centerleft betweenthe wordsMonte the Tiberat upperleft andthe CircusMaximus andAventino, southof S. Sabina (1077, upperleft) andwest of S. Prisca(1059, centerright). the rooms on this side of the complex, but in the case of the room at the upper left here, he provided an outside measurement, including the length of the room and the wall thicknesses between it and the adjacentroom (= 34/2 p[iedi]).One suspects that the inside of this room was filled with earth, or was otherwise inaccessible in Palladio's day. This would explain not only why he measuredthe outside here, but also the lack of any indication of doorways in most of the rooms.15If we add up the dimensions provided for the rooms at the top of Figure 3, the total comes to 123/4 Vicentine feet, or forty-four meters for the depth of the complex front to back.16 The building Palladio sketched was clearly symmetrical, as in Rome. However, the dimensions were all imperial thermae Palladio provided make it clear he did not reconstructone wing from the other. We may note, for example, that on Figure 3, the detailed measurement for the left corner room at the bottom reads as thirty-four Vicentine feet (3 + 4 + 20 + 7), including the thickness of the wall between it and the adjacentroom. Its opposite number, the left corner room at the top, is shown as measuring thirty-four-and-one-half feet for the same dimension, albeit taken outside rather than inside the room, as we have seen. The difference of one-half Vicentine foot, or 17.9 cm, is less importantthan the evidence this discrepancyprovides, namely that Palladio measured key elements of both sides of the complex and did not reconstruct one side from the other. But how exact were Palladio's measurements?To answer this question, let us turn to the remains on the site. The remains As early as the Nolli plan of 1748 (Fig. 4), ancient remains were noted on Jesuit property on the Aventine Hill in Rome.17 The Jesuit property, marked GiardinodellaCasa Professa de' Gesuiti, lies south of the church of S. Sabina, and occupies approximately the middle of the Aventine Hill. Two L-shaped
17. For reproductionsof the Nolli plan, see Romaal tempo di Benedetto XIV: La pianta di CiambattistaNolli del 1748 riprodotta da una copia vol. 6 of Lepiantemaggiori di Romadeisecc.XVI-XVIII riprodotte vaticana, vaticana(Vatican City, 1932), and A. P. infototipiaa curadellabiblioteca Frutaz, Le piantedi Roma (Vatican City, 1932), (Rome, 1962), 1: 23436; 3: pl. 407, (hereafter cited as Le piante).

15. The only exceptions, the four openings shown in each of the rotundae, probably represent windows rather than doorways. 16. Dimensions on the top of Figure 3, moving from left to right and including wall thicknesses: 341/2+ 26/4 + 4 + 19 + 21/4+ 35 + 21/4= 12314 Vicentine feet or 44.00025 m.



-....? -.



-.......--. S. DOMENICO

1..20 42.20



of remains with surrounding structures are (as of 1985). The remains shownin bold anddottedoutline,northwest of the Piazzadel Tempio di Diana.(Stephen Townsend) buildings on the property are shown in black; within one of them is a chapel, delineated in white and given the number in Aventino. di S. MariaMaggiore 1078 and the designation capella Today, these two buildings stand on the private property of Principessa Giulia Torlonia Borghese, northwest of the Piazza del Tempio di Diana (Fig. 5). The interest shown by the Nolli plan in the small chapel of S. Maria Maggiore, delineated by a when black outline on Figure 5, is perhapsmore understandable one realizes that an expanse of ancient Roman brickwork makes up its back wall. As illustrated in Figure 6, this is an exedra, or niche, eleven meters wide which rises over six meters above the chapel floor, but also continues another four meters below the modern floor level.18 The modern plan, Figure 5, shows in dotted outline the remains of more of the bath complex on this lower, basement level. The plan and measurements of these rooms, shown in Figure 7, shows them to correspond to the rooms at the upper left of Figure 3, namely the westernmost room on the southwest facade, and the rooms adjacentto it on the northeast and southeast. These rooms represent approxi2.90 m in height(floor 18. On the basement level,thiswall measures to ceiling)to which the 6.60 m heightof the wall in the chapelon the an additional 30 cm for the groundfloormustbe added.If we estimate continuation of the wall betweenthe floorof the chapelandthe basement level ceiling,the height of this brick-faced wall comesto a minof the imum of 10 meters.This is the dimensionup to the springing the semi-dome itselfis preserved still higher,butcouldnot semi-dome; in the courseof our 1985 survey. be accurately measured

Fig. 5. Baths of Decius, Rome (Aventine Hill), A.D. 249-51, state plan

of room Fig. 6. Bathsof Decius,centralsectionof the chapel/exedra E preserved at groundlevel of the Torlonia-Borghese The property. Romanbrickwork continues left andright of the sectionshown here, andanother4 m below the modernfloor,for a totalheightof over 10 m andwidth of 11 m. (Author)

mately one-third of the rooms shown on Palladio'splan. When Palladio's measurements for these rooms are compared to the dimensions of these rooms today, Palladio's accuracyis extraordinary. In instances where Palladio's explicit dimensions can be checked against the remains, Palladio's dimensions are either absolutely correct (as in the depth of room E, Fig. 7, which corresponds to the upper left corner room on Fig. 3, or 12.30 m), or the difference is of 10 cm (the depth of room D is 9.50 m in the survey and 9.40 m in Palladio). There is only one largerdiscrepancyof 30 cm for the width of room E, a dimension Palladio does not supply, but which can be reconstructed from the width he gives for room D on his plan.19Palladio's sketch plan can therefore be considered highly reliable documentation for the state of the remains of the Baths of Decius on the midsixteenth century. The plan, translated into meters and posisketch(since to Palladio's 19. RoomE width ca. 13.90 m according he gives the width of adjacent room D as thirty-nine Vicentinefeet), versusa dimension of 14.20 m in the modernsurvey.




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VIA 0D S DOMENICO ..o-, ._........... 42.20

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at Fig. 7. Bathsof Decius,stateplanof ancientrooms(D-F)preserved the basement level of Torlonia-Borghese These roomscorproperty. respondto the threeroomsin the upperleft of Palladio's plan,Figure 3. (StephenTownsendandJoanneSpurza) tioned so that these rooms correspondwith the upper left rooms of Palladio's plan in Figure 3, permits us for the first time to determine the precise topographical position of these thermae on the Aventine. Figure 8 illustrates the result when the metric conversion of Palladio's plan is laid over the cadastralmap of Rome in this area. One may note the differences between this reconstructionand that shown on the most recent map of ancient Rome, published by Scagnetti-Grande in 1979, Figure 9.20 The Baths of Decius were in fact far smaller, only seventy by fortyfour meters, half the size they are shown on Figure 9. They are also positioned further to the northeast, since they occupy a large portion of the Piazza del Tempio di Diana. Palladio does not identify the complex as the Baths of Decius, built between A.D. 249-51. Now that the characterand accuracy of the field sketch have been established, we may turn to the inscription.
Inscription and date




,iDA1 /
10 20

3 40 SOm

. P, E'

bathsketchplanRIBAXV/1 lv translated into Palladio, Fig.8. Andrea metersand superimposed on stateplan of Bathsof Decius on the AventineHill in Rome. (Stephen Townsend)

sketch of the Baths of Decius represents Palladio's own site survey, for Palladio's final trip to Rome took place in 1554.22 Since all the other monuments depicted on the sheet also appear to be site sketches made in or around Rome, the drawings must have been executed during one of Palladio's trips to Rome and therefore in or before 1554. Palladio visited Rome in 1549 and 1554, so the sketches of our sheet could be assigned to either year. The name Palladio gives the Aventine bath complex may help to determine which visit was the more likely occasion. All earlier authorities cite the inscription as terme su lo veriane
aventino, but the reading terme variane su lo aventino (with an "a"

The date of the sheet, and of our drawing, is problematic. According to Howard Burns, the hand is that of Palladio's mature years, after 1548; Zorzi, however, dated the sheet to the period of Palladio's longest stay in Rome, 1545-47, while Spielmann placed it after 1560.21 The last seems impossible if the

in variane)seems equally possible upon close inspection of the drawing, Figure 3.23 In fact, the first vowel in the second word looks more like an "a" than an "e." Palladio wrote his "e" with a distinctive crossbarending in a clear upward curve which terminated above the line of the other letters. After writ-

20. F. Scagnetti-G. Grande, Roma Urbs Imperatorum Aetate (Rome, 1979).

later.Lewis,TheDrawings, 36 (cat. no. 15) cites substantially perhaps a similar, markdatedby Briquetbefore1540 (C. thoughnot identical,
M. Briquet, Les filigranes. Dictionnairehistoriquedes marquesdu papier

21. HowardBurns'opinion,frompersonal communication in a discussionin frontof the drawingin London,May 1985;Zorzi,I Disegni, Andrea 168 (cat.no. 197).Thereis a watermark 26; Spielmann, Palladio, on the folio, a ladderin an oval above/belowa six-pointed star,but at presentthis markcannotbe dated.Evenwhen they can be dated,such marks sincethe dateof only providea terminus postquemfor drawings, the drawingis necessarily later than the manufacture of the paper,

(Paris,1907), 2: no. 5933.) Briquet'snos. 5922-24 are closer to the

configuration of our mark (5922: Augsburg 1506-10 with variant similar to ours; Siena 1495-1524; 5923: Florence 1513-14; 5924: Vienna

1538, Fabriano 1532.) 23. Zorzi and Spielmann both readthe legend as terme veriane su lo
aventino:Zorzi, I Disegni, 73; Spielmann, AndreaPalladio, 168, cat. no. 22. Puppi, Palladio, 231.




Aetate(Rome 1979). North Fig. 9. Detail of the Aventine Hill, after the map of ancient Rome by F. Scagnetti-G. Grande, UrbsRomaeImperatorum is at the top, with the Tiber at upper left and the Circus Maximus at upper right. The Baths of Decius are shown in center, above the words Mons


ing an "e," Palladio's pen stopped. The second letter of the second word of the inscription shows no such crossbar,nor does the upward curve of that letter indicate a pause of the pen. The form of this letter is more closely comparable to the letter "a" shown in the word aventinothan it is to the "e" in that word. is far more The reading "terme variane" (Latin thermae varianae) on than "terme veriane" thermae verianae) topograph(Latin likely ical grounds as well. The thermae are nowhere attested, verianae but the thermaevarianaeappear in some codices of the fourth
century A.D. Regionary Catalogues of Rome. The name there

on Bartolomeo Marliani's map of 1544, where it is shown on the Aventine along with the thermae or Baths of Dedecianae, cius.25The most vociferous champion of this fictitious complex was Pirro Ligorio, one of the most famous antiquarians and archaeologists of Palladio's day. In 1553, Ligorio published a small book on the antiquities of Rome, which argued at some length that the prominent ruins of a bath on the Aventine should be identified as the thermae decianae.26 varianae,not the thermae
25. B. Marliano,UrbisRomaeTopografiae Second edition (Rome, 1544), see fold-out plan opposite p. 10. Frutaz, Le piante, 1: 56-57; 2: pl. 21,

reflects a medieval corruption of the Latin for the Baths of urianaewhen Sura-thermae surianae-which became the thermae the initial "s" was dropped and was finally corrected, or rather varianae.24 This corruption seems to have corrupted, to thermae been responsible for the creation by Renaissance topographers of a fictitious bath complex on the Aventine, the thermae varianae. The first appearanceof these baths on a map of Rome occurs 24. For the corruption, see R. Valentini,G. Zucchetti,Codice topodellacittadi Roma(Rome, 1940), 1: 181 and 245 with note 2 grafico
derStadtRom (hereafter cited as Codice);compare H. Jordan, Topografie in Altertum(Berlin, 1871), 1.1, 296.

also illustrates this map of Rome, where the Th[ermae] and dec[yanae] the Th[ermae] areboth notedon the AventineHill. var[ianae] 26. Pirro Delle antichitd diRoma. . .con leParadosse delmedesimo Ligorio, Roma e purdi coloro, (Venice,1553),fol. 49, pp. v-50 r: "Schiochezza
che fanno le Therme di Decio Traiano nel colle Aventino; conciosia cosa che quello imperatore non edificasse mai Therme, e nell'Aventino massimamente: dica pur che vuole Pomponio Leto; ma Spartianodice auttorequae confutano la commune opinionesopravarii luoghi della cittddi

che Decio Traiano ristaur6 le Thermedi Agrippa senzefar Imperatore de nuove,le qualise pur egli havesse mentione,che egli ne edificasse non l'avrebbe lasciate edificate,PublioVittorecosi diligentescrittore nella penna, senza fame mentione, ben'e vero che nella Regione dell'Aventino sonole ThermeVariane e non Deciane." This passage is
an interesting example of sixteenth-century antiquarianmethod, since


JSAH, LII:2, JUNE 1993 The sketch plan of the terme variane su lo aventino indicates that Palladio's interest in Roman thermae was hardly limited to the most famous examples in Rome. As demonstrated here, the drawing reflects Palladio's own survey of this complex, which even today is poorly known. When compared with the remains still preserved on the site, Palladio's survey is extraordinarily accurate, which is all the more remarkable when we consider he was measuring a half-buried building.28 Finally, the inscription Palladio provides for the baths indicates that he sought the most up-to-date information for the lesser-known monuments he studied. As we have seen, it is Palladio's survey in the midsixteenth century that allows us to determine both the architectural plan and the proper topographical position of these baths on the Aventine. The drawing thus proves that Palladio's freehand site surveys can indeed supply crucial evidence for the reconstruction in Rome. of imperial thermae and other ancient buildings

It seems likely that Palladio took the erroneous name for the complex from Ligorio, either from his book of 1553, or from Ligorio personally, if the two men did indeed meet in Rome, as has often been suggested, on the occasion of Palladio's last trip there in 1554.27 I suggest, therefore, that our sheet should be dated to 1554, the occasion of Palladio's final trip to Rome.

Ligorio cites a number of authorities. For a recent discussion of Ligorio's antiquarian sources, see H. Burns, "Pirro Ligorio's Reconstruction of Ancient Rome: The Anteiquae Urbis Imago of 1561," in PirroLigorio, Artist and Antiquarian,R. W. Gaston, ed., 10 (Florence: Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, 1988): 119-92. Burns, however, is more concerned with Ligorio's map of 1561 than with his book of 1553 cited here. The Pomponius Leto whom Ligorio cites in this passage was a Renaissance philologist (1428-97); the work to which Ligorio refers to this passage is probably Leto's which included an appendix pairing ancient sites with their Antiquitates, modern names. The Antiquitatescould have been available to Ligorio in the Italian translation published in Venice in 1550 by G. Papera, see E. Cochrane, Historians andHistoriography in theItalianRenaissance (Chicago, 1981), 42-43, 51, 430 and 514 with note 81. Spartianusis one of the bogus authors of the HistoriaAugusta, a work now recognized as the product of one late fourth-century writer, who presents it under the names of six different men, including Spartianus,with the pretense that it was compiled over a century before, see T. D. Barnes, The Sources of the HistoriaAugusta (Brussels, 1978), 13-18. The passage to which Ligorio refers does not exist in the work as we have it and probably never did. It appears Ligorio is misremembering a passage in the H.A. which lists repairsto the Baths of Agrippa (Hadrian19.10, a restoration of the baths, interalia, by the emperor Hadrian). Publius Victor, on the other hand, is not a real author at all, but the name given to an early edition of the Regionary Catalogues, see Valentini-Zucchetti, Codice, 201-6; and E. Mandowsky and C. Mitchell, PirroLigorio'sRoman Antiquities (London, 1963), 15-16. Since the Regionary Catalogues do mention the Baths of Decius, Ligorio is either using an incomplete edition or is misremembering again. 27. The suggestion that Ligorio and Palladio met in Rome in 1554

was made first by Zorzi, I Disegni, 21-23; it has been deemed likely by E. Forssman, Palladio'sLehrgebdude: Studieniuber den Zusammenhang von Architektur und Architekturtheorie bei A. Palladio (Stockholm, 1965), 72, and Puppi, Palladio, 25 with note 116, and passim. On the basis of his study of their drawings of ancient monuments, Howard Burns, Andrea Palladio 1508-1580: The Porticoand The Farmyard (London, 1975), 268 with cat. no. 498, considers the two men "certainly in touch with each other in 1554." 28. Compare Serlio's reaction, cited in Burns, "I disegni," 137, to another late Roman bath complex, the Baths of Diocletian. Serlio decided not to sketch the Baths because, he said, they were badly ruined, hard to measure, and not the work of good architects.

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