Colour photo, 1990
Joel Sternfeld produced his photographic series Campagna Romana. The Countryside of Ancient Rome from 1989-91, while on a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. His work in the environs of the city references the ruins of aqueducts, villas and tombs of ancient Rome. Sternfeld worked along the ruined aqueducts that open up vistas to today’s cityscapes. These are, in part, the same subjects that so fascinated Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin in the 17th century, Piranesi a hundred years later or Thomas Cole in the 19th century. Sternfeld shows how the ruins of the monumental Roman structures have been integrated as fixed elements into a cultural landscape developing over hundreds of years. While the Old Master paintings and etchings depict mythical views of the Campagna, Sternfeld focuses on real life in the apartment blocks and suburban shantytowns in modern Rome.