Traditionally a critical component of the education of any architect was to draw the ruins of ancient Rome, reconstructing either from ancient sources or, more often, pure fantasy, what the original structures must have looked like. From this training emerged generations of architects imbued with the aesthetic ideals that would form the Neoclassical and Beaux-Arts building styles.
In this magnificently printed volume are reproduced some of the most extraordinarily handsome drawings of the ruins of ancient Rome made by French "Prix de Rome" architects from 1786 through 1924. Accompanied by text that explains how the Prix de Rome was awarded and the significance of the prize in the history of architecture, as well as how the study of ancient models formed the basis for nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architectural styles, these drawings provide an invaluable understanding of how the modern imagination recorded and transformed ancient fragments into a modern architectural idiom.
Massimiliano David is a scholar of archaeology and the history of ancient art.