Canopus: Villa Hadriana Tivoli
14.5 x 19.5 inches (mounted)
2006
Medium: Digital photograph inkjet printed on Innova paper
Boxed set of five images with title page and colophon
Edition: 5


The Roman emperor Hadrian (Publius Aelius Hadrianus) began building Villa Hadriana in 117 A.D. as an imperial palace away from the human noise and political intrigue of Rome. The villa was located just outside ancient Tibur (modern Tivoli) about 18 miles east of Rome. It stood on a hillside and was surrounded by two minor tributaries of the Aniene River, which eventually flowed into the Tiber River outside of Rome. The town of Tibur, and hence the villa, was easily reached from Rome by land on the Via Tiburtina and by boat on the then navigable Aniene.

The five images were taken in November 2006 by Rutherford Witthus in the area of Hadrian’s Villa known as The Canopus. The Canopus refers to an artificial canal that connected the Egyptian city of Canopus in the Nile delta with Alexandria. The city Canopus was famous for its Temple of Serapis, which in Hadrian's Villa is identified with the structure at the end of the narrow lake. The Canopus was built before Hadrian's first journey to Egypt, so it cannot be said to be a reconstruction of something he had seen on his travels. This area may have been used as a summer banqueting hall with guests arranged along the sides of the narrow lake. A number of statues, mostly copies of Greek works (now copies in cement), decorate the perimeter. The originals reside in the Vatican and in London, Dresden, and Munich.

The images were printed on Innova soft-textured art paper with an Epson Stylus Pro 4000 printer and mounted on black Strathmore museum board. The title font is Trajan; the colophon is Sabon Roman.

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