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A Roman monument in Verona: artist or sponsor?

A very unique Roman monument in Verona bears the names of both architect and sponsor...

September 20, 2022

In Roman times sponsors were way more important than artists or architects: we appoint the triumph arches in Rome as Arch of Trajan or Arch of Constantine, while the names of the architects are unknown..

In Verona we have a rare example of a Roman arch that bears the name of both!
Architect Lucius Vitruvius Cerdo made sure to engrave his name not on on, but on two stone blocks of his Arco dei Gavi. Apparently he had the degree of consciousness of being an artist more than a craftsman, and wanted to leave us his signature.

Think of your kitchen table: there is no signature on it, because it is considered a craft work and not a work of art. Lucius had a very high level of self-esteem and wanted to be recognized as an architect.

 In Roman Times, though, sponsors were way more important than architects and artists. As an example, the so called Coliseum was called Amphitheatrum Flavium, out of the Emperor’s family name.

Eventually, in the Renaissance world the consideration of the artists’ role changed dramatically and they became real stars: after all what is more important? Money or creativity?

The Dome of the Duomo in Florence or Saint Peter’s Dome in Rome don’t speak the names of their sponsors, but those of Brunelleschi and Michelangelo.

 The Gavi arch of Verona provides a very, very early example of that. Come explore the Roman heritage of Verona with us!


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