Drawing by Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481-1536)
"Memories of the Ancient Past" Section
Back in the 16th century, there was probably more of the architecture and various components of the Forum of Augustus to see than there is today. The architectural elements of the decorative details inside the cella in the Temple of Mars Ultor (aka Mars the Avenger) were visible for a long time and were sketched and painted by countless Renaissance artists and architects, some of whom also attempted to do a graphic recreation of how they must have looked in Ancient Times.
An orthogonal view done by architect Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481-1537) was one of the most impressive of these. Half showed a frontal view whilst the other half was a section revealing what could be seen inside, which means both the exterior and interior orders could be seen along with the decorative elements - of which the capital and column base have been documented - inside the cella. What makes it so significant is the way others referred to what he had done in lengthy written essays in which they sometimes introduced new elements that were the fruit of their own imaginations, or as in the case of Andrea Palladio, had a series of extremely interesting comments to make. The parts of the Temple of Mars Ultor and the high perimeter wall it backs onto that are still visible, have provided academics and architects with the opportunity, over the years, to hypothesize on its original plan and how the entire complex must have looked. The excavations carried out at different times during the 20th century, and to mark the most recent Jubilee however, provided new informations that have proved some of their ideas were completely wrong.