Drawings, Prints, and 20th C. Photographs

1953 Toynbee

This was the first scholarly publication on the Ara Pacis following the 1948 landmark, 2-volume publication by Moretti, which had made available for the first time the extensive documentation resulting from the 1937 excavations and reconstruction of the Ara Pacis. Although the 28 plates in Toynbee’s booklet, reproduced here, are relatively small, they are exceptionally well reproduced, in many cases clearer with more detail than the large photographs in Moretti.

While Toynbee relies heavily on Moretti’s publication and its images, she has a number of specific objections to Moretti’s interpretation of the images on the altar and their meaning. The author provides a chronological history of the monument and, throughout the text, specific dates for the discovery of separate portions of the monument and their later history. On each point she discusses, Toynbee evaluates the ideas of previous scholars, providing dated references to their publications. This publication is a little gem.

The author gives special attention to the importance of the Ara Pacis as the leading exemplar of the new character of Roman art, the “documentary precision, as regards the time, place, and personnel of the event depicted” (p.75). She continuously looks for precedents in previous Roman and Greek art, concluding that “the Ara Pacis brilliantly illustrates the adaption by Roman-age Greek architects and artists of classical Greek models to works conceived and carried out in a thoroughly Roman spirit” (p.92).

Scanned from Jocelyn M. C. Toynbee, The Ara Pacis Reconsidered and Historical Art in Roman Italy. London: Geoffrey Cumberledge, 1953. Proceedings of the British Academy (BSA/ ProcBritAc). Vol. 39 (1953), pp. 67-95 plus 28 pages of very high quality black-white photos. © The British Academy 1953. Reproduced by permission from Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 39. Reproduced with appreciation.

A high quality pdf with full text and images has been made available by David S. Rose at Northern Virginia Community College.