Label Text: This photograph records a 19th-century view of the oldest surviving Roman amphitheater. Built around 70 BCE, it was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius about 150 years later, in 79 CE. Partial excavation of the site undertaken in the 1820s was completed in the 1920s. The amphitheater is actually elliptical, though it appears round in the Alinari photograph.
Brothers Leonardo, Giuseppe, and Romualdo Alinari established a photographic business in the 1850s, with the goal of recording and reproducing all major Italian works of art: painting, sculpture, and architecture. By the end of the century, the brothers were also photographing Italian landscapes and cityscapes. Since 1985, the collection of more than 100,000 images has been housed in a museum in Florence, Italy.