The Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome

Cornelius van Poelenburgh1623

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

After choosing this unusual side angle on the arch of Septimius Severus, Cornelis van Poelenburgh concentrated on the contrasting patterns of sunlight and shade on the structure. He juxtaposed broadly washed areas of deep shadow with brilliantly illuminated passages articulated by the white paper. His interesting choice of an oblique view of the arch, highlighting the narrow columns, and his omission of several architectural features allowed Poelenburgh to treat it as blocks of light and shadow rather than as a specific structure. Clusters of vegetation growing through cracks in the stonework, formed with simple, looped strokes, appear as the only distraction.

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  • Title: The Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome
  • Creator: Cornelis van Poelenburgh
  • Date: 1623
  • Physical Dimensions: 29.1 x 19.4 cm (11 7/16 x 7 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 87.GG.76
  • Inscription: Inscription: (Recto) at bottom, inscribed by the artist "in Roomen 1623" in brown ink. Secondary Inscription: (Recto) on the bottom of the mount "A.v. Dyck-1623-in roomen 1623" in brown ink by a later hand; (verso) on the mount, inscribed "G301", "de la collection de M. le comte de Tessin", and "(anteckning av...heim Overintendenten Fredenheim/1748-1803.)" in graphite and "A. van Dyck, 1623"; "Titusbogen./Slg. C. G. Tessin, Stockholm-Paris/Slg. Fredenheim (1748-1803), Stockholm/Slg Bokhandl. Hansson, Djarsholm/Slg. Gösta Stenman, Stockholm" and "Hansson har på baksidan av inrammingen/anteknat "stod skrivet N° "32" x"; "öfra vänsta/hörnet med blick pä teckningens framsida x troligen 32 säsom Tessin fordrade" (?).
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Dutch
  • Classification: Drawings