Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae at the University of Chicago

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae is a magnificent collection of prints and engravings that give us a wonderful look at Rome during the Renaissance. In English, this translates as the Mirror of Roman Magnificence.

The prints from the Speculum can be seen online at the University of Chicago’s web site, which has one of the largest collections of prints from the Speculum. Some of the images are quite extraordinary, and you can see renderings of ancient buildings, statues and other works of art and architecture.

These images show the importance that classical antiquity and the ancient world had during the Renaissance, the time in which many of these prints and engravings were done. The University of Chicago has online 536 prints that relate to Rome. Their online search tool and database lets you sort by city.

Many of the prints show buildings and structures as they used to be, and this can be insightful, especially in a city like Rome where pollution, time and history have taken its toll on the city. Explore the database and check out some of the images before your next trip to Rome. You’d be surprised at how little many of these monuments have changed.