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The Amphitheatre of Tusculum and Albano Mountains, Rome

1860 Worthington Whittredge Born: Springfield, Ohio 1820 Died: Summit, New Jersey 1910 oil on canvas 24 x 40 in. (61.0 x 101.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1980.25 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing

Gallery Label

Worthington Whittredge was among many American artists who traveled to Europe in the nineteenth century. The ancient culture of Italy offered a poignant tale of faded glory that contrasted sharply with America's rise to economic and political power. Whittredge showed the ruins of the amphitheatre at Tusculum in the harsh light of day. Indolent shepherds nod off and goats graze where Rome's actors and playwrights once took their bows. A thatched hut and meager yard appear in the shadow of a cloud, signifying the poverty that struck American travelers as powerfully as the magnificent ruins.

The United States stood on the threshold of the Gilded Age, when public art and architecture would follow the model of ancient Rome and Greece. But Italy's most important contribution to America would be its people, who immigrated to the United States by the hundreds of thousands, contributing their labor and culture to the nation's coming-of-age.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006


Animal - sheep

Architecture Exterior - classical - amphitheater

Architecture Exterior - ruins

Figure group

Landscape - Italy - Tusculum

Landscape - mountain - Alban Hills

Occupation - farm - shepherd


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Worthington Whittredge

Born: Springfield, Ohio 1820 Died: Summit, New Jersey 1910

More works in the collection by
Worthington Whittredge