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Worthington Whittredge
The Amphitheatre of Tusculum and Albano Mountains, Rome
1860
oil
24 x 40 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum



The quiet ruin of a Roman amphitheater is the setting for this work by Worthington Whittredge, who like many American artists of his day studied in Europe. A goatherd, sleeping on the stone benches, has let his flock wander from the sunken area—once a stage—to the meadow beyond. The artist's intention to forge a link between the ancient past and the pastoral present is clear. During the nineteenth century, Italy was in political upheaval and its decline from the glories of ancient Rome was a common theme among painters and writers.