Pair of 34" Bronze Trajan's & Marcus Aurelius' Column Models, circa 1820, Rome For Sale
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Pair of 34" Bronze Trajan's & Marcus Aurelius' Column Models, circa 1820, Rome


Trajan’s and Marcus Aurelius’ Columns, Pair. Patinated bronze on white marble. Measures: 34-1/2” H, circa 1820. Hopfgarten & Jollage, Rome. The offered matched pair is mounted on original white marble bases, with identical patinas. The figures atop the columns represent the emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. While their poses are similar, the figures differ in detail. Beginning in the mid-18th century, several Roman decorative arts workshops began production of souvenir models of the city’s best known ancient monuments, especially Trajan’s column and the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in the Campidoglio. Surprising, it wasn’t until the 1804 arrival in Rome of highly-skilled Prussian bronze founders Wilhelm Hopfgarten (1779-1810) and Benjamin Jollage (1780-1837) that a wider variety of souvenir architectural models became available. In the 1810s, Hopfgarten and Jollage’s trade in cast bronze souvenir architectural models had become fairly substantial. A May 19, 1818 license, granted to Jollage by the Roman cardinal Bartolomeo Pacca, the Cardinal Secretary of State – permitted the export of two gilded columns and an obelisk. The Prussians miniatures were often deployed as gifts to important people. “It is reported that Mgr. Ferrieri is about to go as envoy from the Pope the to the Sultan. He carries with him the following presents, a gilt bronze model of the column of Trajan; a magnificent table of mosaic work,” Catholic Magazine (1848). At an 1870 concordat in Bavaria, the Pope presented the firm’s models of the Trajan and Antonine Column to his German hosts. A mention in the volume Rome in the 19th Century (1826) records the range and skill of the Prussians’ work. “Hopmartic (sic) – a remarkably ingenious German – executes models in bronze of the Triumphal Arches, Columns, Ruins, Ancient Vases, & c. of Rome. He has executed a bronze model of Trajan’s Pillar, with the whole of the bas-relief, accurately copied – an extraordinary work”. Of course, Hopfgarten and Jollage’s production most often found its way into the hands of Grand Tourists, those who could best afford the expensive mementos, and for who they might later have the greatest meaning – a gleaming model of some Rome monument, on a grey, chilly, drizzling London afternoon, recalling a glorious, warm Roman morning, suffused in the golden Italian sunlight. While material describing Hopfgarten and Jollage’s partnership is sketchy, we can infer the basic outline. They must have met in Berlin, where both were born, Benjamin Ludwig Jollage in 1781, Wilhelp Hopfgarten in 1789. Wilhelm’s family was artistic and a brother shared his interest in metal casting. On his way to Rome, where he arrived by 1804, Hopfgarten spent two in Paris. This was in the period immediately preceding the development there of foundry technique permitting highly-detailed bronze castings, as well as advancements in the practice of fire-gilding the finished castings – a surface called ormolu. It appears that Hopfgarten was more artistically and technically inclined than his partner Jollage, who may have been more instrumental on the business and marketing side of their shared business. Hopfgarten easily impressed the era’s leading, most famous sculptors, including Berthel Thorvaldsen and Christian Daniel Rauch. He cast important commissions for the former and was asked by the latter to join his studio. Wilhelm declined. Jollage’s name appears on documents in which represents the firm; and it appears he may have established and maintained relations with Church officials leading to commissions from the most important and influential of Roman clients. This work included not just production of architectural miniatures but important restoration projects as well. For example, the firm was charged with the restoration of the bronze doors of St. Paul’s; as well as the conservation of antique Roman lead piping and other hydraulic work. The business’s best known work, though, remained its souvenir architectural models. These were distinctive for a variety of reasons, especially their remarkable, carefully-wrought detail. Very interestingly, the Prussian casters did not simply reproduce, in miniature, the ancient Roman monuments as they looked in the early 19th century. Instead, these were modeled as they appeared in antiquity. For example, Trajan’s Column, which in the early 1800’s (as today) is topped by a colossal figure of St. Peter, was portrayed with its original likeness of the Emperor. Hopfgarten and Jollage’s remarkable architectural models are in the collections of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan; Palazzo Pitti, Florence; and Munich’s Residenz. .


  • Creator
    Wilhelm Hopfgarten and Benjamin Ludwig Jollage 1 (Maker)
  • Production Time
    Available Now
  • In the Style Of
  • Place of Origin
  • Condition Details
    Marcus Aurelius Column is slightly larger, at dimensions listed above. Trajan's Column is 5" sq. and 34" high.
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 34.5 in. x W 6 in. x D 6 in.H 87.63 cm x W 15.24 cm x D 15.24 cm
  • Seller Location
    Lafayette, CA
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Reference Number
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