Engaging sketches of the classical landscape drawn by a noted nineteenth-century American artist and archaeologist
The Roman Remains presents forty-nine previously unpublished and recently discovered nineteenth-century drawings by John Izard Middleton, an American expatriate and South Carolina native who dedicated his life to the study of antiquity and classical ruins. Praised as "America's first classical archaeologist" by Charles Eliot Norton, himself one of the country's foremost cultural historians, Middleton was a member of Europe's intellectual elite and an intimate of such luminaries as the Madame Germaine de Staël, Juliette Récamier, Benjamin Constant, and August von Schlegel. Until now Middleton has been known primarily for his widely admired drawings of Grecian architectural remains, published in 1812.
In these pencil, pen, and wash views of Rome and its environs, Middleton casts aside romantic interpretations of an earlier age and employs an insightful eye and an accuracy of vision that would foreshadow the coming age of scientific inquiry and archaeological investigation. The drawings not only record the beauty of the Italian countryside but also afford accurate archaeological readings of many sites that have been greatly altered since the early nineteenth century. Contemporary comparative photographs of the sites accompany many of the drawings, and essays that explore the life and times of the artist, early-nineteenth-century Rome, the state of classical archaeology at the time, and Middleton's place in the history of classical scholarship set these charming works in their cultural context.
Charles R. Mack has been a member of the Department of Art at the University of South Carolina since 1970, where he is Scudder Professor of Art History and William J. Todd Professor of the Italian Renaissance. Mack teaches, researches, and writes about ancient and Renaissance art and architecture.
Lynn Robertson is director of the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum. A contributor to Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green, she has organized national traveling exhibitions and written catalogues on South Carolina art and folklife.
"The Roman Remains is an exemplary publication for which, in an era of sharp cutbacks for academic presses, the University of South Carolina should be commended. This remarkable study represents a significant scholarly contribution from multiple perspectives."—Southeastern College Art Conference Review