The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Excavations in Rome
  • Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826 - 1889)
  • Excavations in Rome
  • France
  • probably c. 1873 - 1875
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 85.5 x 150.3 cm
  • Signature: 'FHeilbuth', the 'FH' in monogram
  • P342
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • The scene is fanciful: the marble relief in the centre is one of two excavated in September 1872 in the Roman Forum, but the distant walls (perhaps those of the Baths of Caracalla) cannot be seen from the Forum. The reliefs, known as the Plutei of Trajan or Anaglypha Trajani (after Trajan A.D. 53(?)-117, Emperor A.D. 98-117) are now in the Curia Senatus, Rome. A smaller version of the Wallace Collection’s painting is in the Musée Calvet, Avignon. The bold recession of the composition may reflect the influence of Heilbuth’s master, Delaroche (cf. Delaroche, 'Cardinal Mazarin's Last Sickness', P314, and 'Cardinal Richelieu on the Rhône, P320). This painting and the other by Heilbuth in the Collection ('The Cardinal', P576) were unusual acquisitions for Sir Richard Wallace who usually showed little interest in either contemporary Rome or classical Roman civilisation. As they were both probably acquired direct from the artist the acquisition may well have depended on the two men's acquaintanceship.