The Amphitheatre of Tusculum and Albano Mountains, Rome

Media - 1980.25 - SAAM-1980.25_1 - 5891
Copied Worthington Whittredge, The Amphitheatre of Tusculum and Albano Mountains, Rome, 1860, oil on canvas, 2440 in. (61.0101.6 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1980.25
Free to use

Artwork Details

The Amphitheatre of Tusculum and Albano Mountains, Rome
2440 in. (61.0101.6 cm.)
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Occupation — farm — shepherd
  • Figure group
  • Architecture Exterior — classical — amphitheater
  • Landscape — Italy — Tusculum
  • Animal — sheep
  • Landscape — mountain — Alban Hills
Object Number

Artwork Description

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