Arch of Titus, Rome

1848–1852Eugène ConstantFrenchsalt print11 5/16 in. × 8 11/16 in. (28.8 cm. × 22 cm.)

Museum Purchase


Photography expanded exponentially throughout Europe and the Americas in the immediate decades following its introduction in 1839. In Rome—a global crossroads and a city that has trafficked in images for more than two thousand years—photography became by the middle of the nineteenth century the visual medium through which the city was represented and understood, especially by foreigners. Although painters and printmakers continued to picture Rome and its inhabitants, photography was the leading source for images of the Eternal City. Views such as Eugène Constant’s Arch of Titus, Rome mediated one’s ideas about the place and helped to usher in a new period of tourism. Like other new developments in transportation, communication, and engineering, photography was instrumental in helping to usher Rome into the modern era.

—Frank H. Goodyear