Aug 26, 2021
Aug 26, 2021

The Pyramid of Cestius, Rome

The Pyramid of Cestius, Rome

c. 1650–80

Michiel van Overbeek

(Dutch, active 1663-1709)

Pen and brown ink with red chalk on brown prepared paper

Image: 9.9 x 19.9 cm (3 7/8 x 7 13/16 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Whitehill Art Purchase Endowment Fund 2021.144


Did you know?

The Pyramid of Cestius was constructed in Rome as a tomb in 12 BC during a fad for Egyptian things just a few years after Rome had conquered Cleopatra’s Egypt (30 BC).


The Dutch artist Michiel Van Overbeek drew The Pyramid of Cestius, Rome from southwest of the site, looking toward the 12 BC Pyramid of Cestius, and the 3rd- to 4th-century Porta Ostiensis (Porta Santo Paulo). The Egyptian structure in the Roman countryside attracted many tourists, and artists, for its singularity within the Roman architectural landscape. The careful attention given to the rise of the land at left, with small abodes tucked into the hills, and the crumbling ruin at the right, suggest that Van Overbeek wanted to record the scene as accurately as possible.

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