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Thomas Hiram Hotchkiss
Torre di Schiavi
1865
oil
22 3/8 x 34 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum



As if contemplating Rome's glorious past and human mortality, a solitary herdsman sits among the ruins of a third-century villa, with architectural fragments and funerary urns. Tor de'Schiavi, which means “Slaves' Tower,” was a popular destination for American tourists and artists. The site, associated with the Roman practice of slavery, was a poignant reminder to Americans of their country's struggle with the same issue.