19th Century Neoclassical Grand Tour Bronze Model of the Temple of Vesta, Rome For Sale
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19th Century Neoclassical Grand Tour Bronze Model of the Temple of Vesta, Rome


A 19th century Grand Tour neoclassical bronze architectural model of the Temple of Vesta, Rome, circa 1875, on a square grey marble base. The primary value in going on the Grand Tour was the exposure it provided to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance for, primarily, the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent. Later in the 19th century, models like this one were created as souvenirs for travelers of many types seeking to remember their experience visiting the wonders of the Classical world. This model is well detailed and makes for great decoration. The top is also removable and reveals a compartment where a glass inkwell may have once been. History: Containing the sacred fire and the Palladium, an effigy of Athene (Minerva) believed to have been brought by Aeneas from Troy, this ancient temple was built in imitation of a primitive round hut, its hearth fire symbolizing the perpetuity of the Roman State. It was not a true temple in that its space was not inaugurated, nor did it contain an image of Vesta, the goddess of the household hearth. As the handmaidens of Vesta, the principal duty of the six Vestals was never to allow the flame to be extinguished, an arduous task in a building with a vent in the roof. There also was danger that the temple, itself, might catch fire, which it sometimes did. It was destroyed in the fire of Nero in AD 64, which reached this point of the Forum. The last time it burned, in AD 191, the temple was restored by Julia Domna, the wife of Severus. Once a year, on June 15, the ashes of the tended fire were ritually thrown into the Tiber. (Source: Penelope, University of Chicago). All tem­ples to Vesta were round, and had en­trances fac­ing east to sym­bol­ize con­nec­tion be­tween Vesta’s fire and the sun as sources of life. The Tem­ple of Vesta rep­re­sents the site of an­cient cult ac­tiv­ity as far back as 7th cen­tury BCE. Numa Pompilius is be­lieved to have built this tem­ple along with the orig­i­nal Regia and House of the Vestal Vir­gins in its orig­i­nal form. Around the Tem­ple stood The Sa­cred Grove, in which also there was a grave­yard for the priests and vir­gins. The Temple of Vesta was destroyed and rebuilt many times. The broken column fragment in the model is a romantic version of the ruins.


  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1875
  • Period
  • Materials and Techniques
    CastBronze,Belgian Black Marble
  • Condition
  • Condition Details
    Age appropriate wear to marble base.
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 4.5 in. x W 4 in. x D 4 in.H 11.43 cm x W 10.16 cm x D 10.16 cm
  • Seller Location
    Essex, MA
  • Reference Number
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About the Seller

5 / 5
Gold Seller
1stdibs seller since 2007
Located in Essex, MA
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