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The Death of Julius Caesar, 1837
George Esten Cooke (1793 – 1849)

View Artist Bio
Oil on canvas
24 7/8 x 30 inches
Signature Details: G. Cooke/1837
Status: Available

The 15 March 44 B.C. murder of Gaius Julius Caesar by a group of conspirators who called themselves “Liberatores” is one of the most dramatic, best known events in the history of Rome.  Stabbed with knives—some reports stated he suffered 23 wounds—Julius Caesar has been remembered for millennia as a judicious ruler, a sagacious empire-builder, an author of a classic work of Roman history, or a power-hungry tyrant depending upon the political values of successive times and places.  As an example of his malleable legacy, the Latin phrase “Sic semper tyrannis,” supposedly uttered by Marcus Brutus Junius, one of the chief Liberatores, after he struck Caesar, is the motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is written on the emblems of United States military organizations.  However, John Wilkes Booth notoriously exclaimed the phrase after shooting President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865, and Timothy McVeigh, the most notorious native-born American terrorist, was pictured wearing a t-shirt with the motto.  Other parts of the story of Caesar’s death have become colloquial phrases.  “Beware the Ides of March” is a commonplace quote from William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and “Et tu, Brute” is another quotation from Roman historians, supposedly uttered by Caesar as Brutus struck him. 

The iconic character of Caesar’s assassination and its adaptability to various political and cultural interpretations stem partly from the fact that the Roman historians who are the chief sources of information wrote about the event many years after it occurred.  Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Plutarch) wrote the most influential narrative in his Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, also called the Parallel Lives, around 100 A.D.  He provided key elements of the story that have influenced literary and visual arts interpretations since then.  Among these elements were Artemidorus’s note of warning, the murder site at the foot of Pompey’s statue, the names of conspirators, reputed number of stab wounds, and the diversion by conspirators of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) from the crime scene to prevent his intervention.[i]  Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (Suetonius) wrote another narrative around 120 A.D.  His Lives of the Twelve Caesars provided some elements that varied from Plutarch but which enriched the story’s dramatic character.[ii]   Together, Plutarch and Suetonius recorded sufficient information to transform Caesar’s assassination into a timeless story that has been depicted in poetry, drama, motion pictures, novels, and in visual art works.  William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Julius Caesar, first performed in 1599 and published in 1623, has become the English-speaking world’s best-recognized version of the story.  Shakespeare took the plot of his play and numerous scenes directly from Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, which had been translated into English and published by Thomas North in 1579.[iii] 

When George Esten Cooke took up the assassination of Julius Caesar as the subject for his 1837 painting he relied both upon the literary traditions of Plutarch, Suetonius, and William Shakespeare and upon a visual arts tradition that was in part older than the events of the Ides of March and in part considerably younger than even Shakespeare’s drama.  By stitching together some of the visual elements and adding to them parts of Plutarch, Suetonius, and Shakespeare Cooke created a unique version of the story that is both visually profuse and a compelling narrative.  Working either in Charleston, South Carolina, or in Washington, D.C., during 1836 and 1837, Cooke enhanced his painting’s impact by adding visual elements that were part of the history of ancient Rome but were not directly related to Caesar’s murder.  The result of Cooke’s labors is a painting that is original even as it remains faithful to its literary and visual arts predecessors.  Cooke’s Assassination of Julius Caesar may be unique in the annals of nineteenth-century American art history.  Its uniqueness may result in part from the loss or destruction of many Old Masters’ copies and replicas by American painters who had studied in Europe or undertaken Grand Tours in search of subjects.  Owners of these copies or, more likely, descendants of the first owners dispraised these sorts of paintings as derivative, poorly-executed, unfashionable, or enigmatic.  Judging from its melodramatic action, its rudimentary execution and its derivative subject, Cooke’s Assassination might well have been discarded or destroyed in the nearly two hundred years since it was created.  Instead, the painting emerged in 2017 from what may be as long as 180 years of obscurity to add a new dimension to George Cooke’s life and career.  The painting challenges art historians to understand how an American artist combined ancient and modern historical sources, visual arts antecedents, and his native talent to create a painting of such merit.    

Cooke’s Assassination of Julius Caesar merits close investigation of its antecedents, its visual arts and literary historical vocabulary, and scrutiny of its place in American art history.    The most authoritative scholarly works on Cooke and his career make no mention of the painting or offer any clues respecting its creation.  These works are: Marilu Alston Rudulph’s “George Cooke and his Paintings,” published in 1960 in the Georgia Historical Quarterly; Donald Keyes collection of essays that accompanied the University of Georgia’s 1991 exhibition of Cooke’s works; and Kevin O’Donnell’s “The Artist in the Garden: George Cooke (1793‒1849) and the Ideology of Fine Arts Painting in Antebellum Georgia.”  With the exception of Rudulph’s brief discussion of Cooke’s copy of Niccolo Cassana’s Conspiracy of Cataline, none of these studies affirm the existence of Cooke’s Assassination; address his relationship with nineteenth-century Neoclassical painting; or reveal any knowledge of the artist’s creative connections with the Roman history paintings of a distinguished contemporary, the Italian Neoclassical artist, arts administrator, and gallery owner, Vincenzo Camuccini (1771‒1844).[iv]  

George Esten Cooke was born in Saint Mary County, Maryland, in 1793.  After starting a career in business Cooke determined to become a painter.  He enjoyed success as an itinerant portrait and history painter and as an occasional gallery owner in New Orleans and Prattville, Alabama.  He painted more than 1,000 portraits, landscapes, American vedute scenes, and aspired to follow in the footsteps of Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, John Vanderlyn, and the elite circle of American-born history painters in the half-century before the American Civil War.  His relationships with the Alabama industrialist Daniel Pratt (1799‒1873) and the entrepreneur and passionate art collector James Robb (1814‒81) in the 1840s may post facto shed some light upon his remarkable Death of Julius Caesar that he had painted several years earlier.   

In 1826 Cooke and his wife traveled to France and Italy and remained there for nearly five years as he trained for his profession by studying and copying Old Master’s paintings in the prescribed manner of an American student in Europe.  Almost exclusively self-taught, Cooke did not enter the studios or enroll in the academies of prominent European painters but stuck to a stern regimen of working directly with world-renowned paintings.  During 1829 he was in Naples, where he likely had an opportunity to study Vincenzo Camuccini’s archetypal painting of the assassination of Julius Caesar that was part of the collection of the royal family of Naples.  There can be no doubt that Cooke was influenced by this painting but the degree of influence and the means by which that influence flowed from the Camuccini’s painting to Cooke’s American version are subjects that merit inquiry. 

Vincenzo Camuccini’s Morte di Gulio Cesare (The Death of Julius Caesar, 1798‒1806) was one of the painter’s many monumental-size depictions of events in the history of Rome.  In all he produced at least eleven paintings on themes of Roman history, and those that survive are of considerable dimensions.  Measuring four by seven meters in size, The Death of Julius Caesar has become recognized worldwide as both a masterpiece of Italian Neoclassical painting and as an example of the painstaking methods that Camuccini and his peers employed to create accurate representations of such historical events as the murder of Julius Caesar.  In addition, it was engraved and printed in Rome in the 1820s; it has been widely reproduced in books, periodicals, and as an art reproduction; and, ever since Camuccini finished it, the work has become the archetypal depiction of Caesar’s assassination.  Camuccini’s His Death of Virginia (1793‒1804), along with the Death of Julius Caesar also in the collection of the National Museum of Capodimonte, Naples, measures 4 by 7 meters and Departure of Marcus Regulus for Carthage (1824), in the Palazzo Breschi, Rome, is 3.5 by 5 meters in size.

Vincenzo Camuccini (1771‒1844) was born in Rome and received his early art training from his elder brother Pietro Camuccini and from Domenico Corvi.  His training consisted in copying Old Masters’ works, but by the 1790s he began to create original works both on religious themes and large-scale historical paintings.  Heir to the art historical traditions of Anton Raphael Mengs and Pompeo Batoni, who had been active in the previous generation, Camuccini distinguished himself as a portrait painter and in particular made a lifelong career of painting monumental scenes of Roman history.[v]  His Death of Julius Caesar and The Death of Virginia, a lesser-known story of Roman valor and self-sacrifice, were the first of many such works—all of them rigorously researched with respect to composition, depictions of clothing, armor, architectural details, and attention to historical narratives.  Prior to 1829 some of Camuccini’s Roman paintings had been engraved and published as prints.  Among them were The Death of Caesar and Death of Virginia.  By 1835 eleven of his Roman history paintings had been engraved and published and were for sale.  In a pamphlet Melchior Missirini published in 1835 titled Alcuni Fatti della Storia Romana dipinti dal Barone Vincenzo Camuccini incise a Bolino da Diversi Artisti . . . . (Rome: Tipografia Camerale, 1835), the author described the events depicted in each of eleven of Camuccini’s Roman paintings and described some of the historical sources the artist had used to create them.[vi]

By 1829 Camuccini had an international reputation.  Earlier in the century he had visited France where he met Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the French history painter Jean-Louis David, whose French versions of Neoclassical painting had treated the French Revolution of 1789 and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte as world-historical events comparable to the histories of Greece and Rome.  Camuccini’s approach to Italian history was a counterpart to David’s visualization of French history—dramatic and earth-shaking, with heroes and heroines that compared in stature to the gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome.  Camuccini also become inspector-general of the Vatican Museums and director of the Neapolitan Academy of Rome, positions that gave him access to artworks of antiquity and the most recent historical and archaeological research upon such antiquities.  Also, he and his brothers were art dealers with international reputations, and by the time of his death he had acquired a large and valuable collection of Dutch and Italian Old Master paintings.

As Camuccini worked on his Death of Julius Caesar he used Plutarch’s Parallel Lives as a source of the basic narrative—the assassination of Caesar by  conspirators led by Marcus Brutus Junius, who stabbed him to death at the foot of Pompey’s Statue—but inserted elements that reveal some other sources he used.  His depiction of the Curia Pompeiana, a room adjacent to the Theatre of Pompey, had derived from recent archaeological studies of the ruins of Pompey’s Theatre and contemporaneous Roman descriptions.  His placement of the Statue of Pompey at the center of action and of the statues of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva in niches were derived from these sources.[vii]  The Roman historians initiated the idea that the statue of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey, d. 48 B.C.) under which Caesar was killed was the one that is now in the collection of the Galleria Spada, Rome. That idea governed Camuccini’s, Cooke’s, and others’ depictions of the assassination scene throughout the nineteenth century.  Modern scholarship has asserted that the statue in place in the Curia Pompeiana (Curia of Pompey), which was attached to the Theatre of Pompey in 44 B.C. is now in the Villa Arconati a Castellazzo di Bollate, Milan.[viii]   In the far left background of his painting two conspirators, Gaius Trebonius and Decimus Brutus, had engaged Marcus Antonious in conversation to deter him from entering the room lest he interfere in the assassination.  This element of the scene was derived from Suetonius’s Lives of the Twelve Caesars.  Camuccini derived another important element of his painting, not from classical sources, but from a play by Vittorio Alfieri, titled Brutus II, written in 1789.  In the play Alfieri augments the drama of Caesar’s assassination by adding the fiction that Brutus discovered the night before the assassination that Caesar is his father.  He was both a conspirator who struck down the head of the Roman government and a parricide.  Hence, Camuccini depicted Brutus averting his face as he began to strike Caesar, who was prostrate but yet unwounded.  Some might argue that Alfieri and Camuccini had injected an element of melodrama into an already highly-wrought drama.  But, to know more of Camuccini’s sources ultimately sheds light on the way that he and eventually Cooke created their paintings. 

Cooke and his wife visited Naples in 1829 and may have seen Camuccini’s Death of Julius Caesar in the collection of Ferdinand I, King of Naples.   The painting ultimately entered the collection of the National Museum of Campidoglio, Naples, where it is found today.  Although no sketches or studies by Cooke survive of the Camuccini painting it is known that he actively sketched antique Roman clothing, draperies, armor, and weapons while in Italy.[ix]   Whatever other sketchbooks or studies he made during his lengthy stay cannot be located, if they still exist.  Cooke made many copies of Old Masters paintings because a few survive and became part of the inventory of his exhibitions and of his New Orleans gallery.  When he was in Charleston, South Carolina, in the first months of 1836, Cooke exhibited for sale fifty of his paintings that were “Copies from the most celebrated Masters, and original views, executed during a residence of five years in Europe.”  Among them were the Interior of Saint Peter’s, Rome, the Cataline Conspiracy, and Raphael’s Transfiguration, all of which survive to the present day.[x]    

Painted in 1837, Cooke’s Assassination of Julius Caesar is unique in many of its features but even a cursory glance reveals its debts to Camuccini’s version of the event.  The action in both paintings takes place at the foot of the Statue of Pompey, which is depicted the same in both paintings.  In Camuccini’s painting some elements are unique:  Brutus averting his eyes as he struck Caesar; the as-yet-unwounded Caesar, and the statues of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva in niches.  These were the result of Camuccini knowledge of architectural research likely unavailable to Cooke.  Camuccini’s Caesar has fallen towards the Statue of Pompey, and the hall is depicted as running on a horizontal axis, elements that would not be found in Cooke’s version.  Lastly, the absence of Artemidorus, who according to Plutarch, had warned Caesar of the plot, from Alfieri’s play and Camuccini’s painting is further evidence that the artist took significant cues from the playwright’s version of the story.   

Cooke’s painting shares so many major elements with the earlier painting that it should justly be described as “after Camuccini.”  However, his version also bears sufficient evidence that Cooke had at hand readily identifiable sources of information independent of Camuccini that he used to create his own vision of the assassination.  For example, Cooke added the image of a sheet of parchment lying on the floor inscribed “Artemidorus.”  This revealed that Cooke had relied either upon Plutarch or Shakespeare to introduce those authors’ theme of premonition to his painting.  Cooke’s Caesar had already been wounded and had fallen away from Pompey’s Statue, a reversal of the direction of the action.  Cooke’s Brutus is not hiding his face but fully engaged in stabbing his mentor, a depiction that suggests Cooke ignored the parricide theme of Alfieri and Camuccini.  Cooke has reversed the axis of the painting, placing the group in the foreground of a barrel-vaulted chamber that leads into the background.  This chamber bears some resemblance, especially in its ceiling design, to a similar one that appears in Cooke’s copy of Giovanni Pado Panini’s Interior of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, a painting he copied while in Europe and now with the collections of the University of Georgia in Athens.  The crowd of frightened Roman senators that inhabits Camuccini’s and Cooke’s versions of the story were described in Plutarch and Suetonius.  Their individual and collective reactions augment the dramatic tension of the scene.

Other elements of Cooke’s painting reveal that he used his imagination to furnish the Curia of Pompey.  Either he had neglected to sketch the architectural details of Camuccini’s painting—in particular, the three statues in niches—or he chose to embellish the room with elements different from Camuccini but equally significant to Roman history and legend.  Cooke’s image in the upper left is that of the famous statue of the Capitoline Wolfe and Romulus and Remus that was of great antiquity and has been a symbolic representation of the founding of Rome in 753 B.C.  Some version of this statue was reported by the Roman historian Livy (ca. 20 B.C.) to be placed at the foot of the Palatine Hill in 295 B.C.  In his Natural History (77 A.D.), Pliny the Elder stated that it was housed in the Forum.  The statue that Cooke knew had been in the collection of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Campidoglio, Rome, since 1471.  Modern scientists have determined that the statue was created in the 11th century A.D. but for centuries was believed to be contemporaneous with the founding of Rome.  Cooke doubtless knew of the statue and its powerful symbolism.  The mural of geese that adorns the wall on the upper right side of the painting refers to the legend of the geese that saved Rome in 390 B.C. by warning of an enemy attack.  The geese were thenceforth sacred to the Temple of Juno Moneta, nearby to the Theatre of Pompey.  If Cooke needed an image to fill the space in his imaginary interior, he chose with irony because it may allude to the conspirators’ assertions they were rescuing Rome from a threat to its survival.[xi]  Finally, he introduced a prototypical Roman military standard with its eagle and letters SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus—Senate and People of Rome).  By adding these images to his painting Cooke increased and enriched the symbolism of the murder scene. 

All in all, Cooke’s Assassination of Julius Caesar is a scene that combined history, legend, political significance, and tragedy, assembled within a painting that possessed authentic Neoclassical credentials.  Camuccini did the same thing for his patrons.  As creative artists they selected from among a number of literary, historical, and visual arts sources to create works that sought to give the murder of Julius Caesar some relevance to their own places and times.  The irony that Cooke’s painting has probably remained unknown and out of sight from 1837 to the present day makes it a challenge to discover reliable information regarding the artist’s motives for creating the work or to measure any impact before the present day that the painting had upon Cooke or others who may have known of its existence.  With few clues available regarding the painting’s provenance or exhibition history it is necessary to develop some hypothetical explanations for the painting’s very existence.  Circumstantial evidence must—at least, for the present—serve to tell a story about Cooke’s remarkable Assassination of Julius Caesar.

Lacking any complex provenance, Cooke’s painting emerged quietly in 2017 from a location in North Carolina where it had been ignored but preserved for more than a century.  By 1837, the year he painted the work, Cooke had made a name for himself for the number and quality of his portraits.  He had also executed some distinctive landscapes in the Italian vedute tradition.[xii]  Another source of his notoriety by 1837 was his inventory of copies of Old Master and more recent European paintings.  In September 1831 he exhibited at the American Academy of Fine Art one of his most remarkable works, a full-size copy of Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa (1814-19), which was in the Louvre, Paris.  Measuring nearly five by 7 meters, the painting had been commissioned on the strength of Cooke’s copies that had been exhibited while he was still in Europe.  Cooke later made a smaller version of the Gericault painting that is now in the collections of the New-York Historical Society.  The original painting was known to exist in the 1850s but it was either lost or destroyed in later years.[xiii] In addition to exhibiting his Gericault copy in September 1831 he also mounted an exhibition of forty two of his works in November 1831.  The number and variety of his copies was remarkable.  Among them were Titian’s Flora, a reduced-size version of  Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, Raphael’s School of Athens and La Fornarina as well as works by Paul Veronese, Domenichino, Correggio, and Claude Lorraine filled an exhibition hall in New York City.  Of particular interest, because of its subject, was Cooke’s copy of The Cataline Conspiracy, supposed to be by Salvator Rosa.[xiv]  It would be six years before Cooke created his version of the Death of Julius Caesar but the 1831 exhibition of his Old Master copies and his 1840s association with Daniel Pratt in Alabama reveal that Cooke’s interest in Roman paintings was deep-seated.  By 1853, four years after Cooke’s death, Pratt had several of Cooke’s copies and original paintings that have tragically been lost, along with The Raft of the Medusa in the years during and after the American Civil War.   Copies included works after Claude Lorraine, Govert Flinck, and Federico Barocci while original works by Cooke included landscapes of Naples and Rome and a vedute of the Roman Forum.  The loss of so many original works and significant Old Master copies has proven devastating to the artist’s legacy.

Of particular interest with respect to Cooke’s Death of Julius Caesar is the history of similar images during the nineteenth century.  For, even if Cooke’s painting had disappeared from view for many years, it is possible that it may have had a brief reputation in the nineteenth century.  In 1840 a version of the Death of Caesar “Copied from Cammuccini” by an unknown artist was exhibited at the New York City Masonic Hall along with two other paintings, Hector Reproving Paris and Hector’s Meeting with Andromache, that were advertised as “just received from Italy.”[xv]  In 1864 Pietro Fontana’s engraving of Camuccini’s Death of Caesar was from a private collection was exhibited in Philadelphia for the benefit of the United States Christian Commission.[xvi]  Lastly, in 1869 another of Fontana’s engravings was exhibited as part of the sale of the art collection of James L. Claghorn of Philadelphia.[xvii]  Other copies of Fontana’s engravings were to be found in the collections of the New York State Library Historical Society.[xviii]  Americans had slowly become acclimated to the “modern” uses of history paintings, just in time for the American Civil War—called by contemporaries and by some subsequent historians—the “American Iliad” to provide ample material for writers and artists to use as they sought to comprehend that war and the revolutionary changes it wrought in American society.  To have at hand Neoclassical models of paintings, sculptures, and the literature of war and peace proved fruitful in shaping the future of the American Union.  

The monumental size of Camuccini’s The Death of Julius Caesar and the seemingly unfinished character of Cooke’s smaller copy of the painting may be clues to Cooke’s plans respecting the work of art.  Returning from Europe in 1831, Cooke soon established a reputation for his willingness to paint very large-scale works with little hesitation.
[xix]  His Raft of the Medusa and his smaller follow-up version now in the New-York Historical Society are evidence of his inclinations.  Toward the end of his career, Cooke’s patron Daniel Pratt requested the artist to create a large-scale version of a painting he had copied when he was in Italy.  In 1831 he had exhibited a copy he had made of Giovanni Pado Panini’s Interior of Saint Peter’s, Rome, and had the painting on hand in 1845 as he and Pratt were consolidating their friendship and business arrangements.  In that year Pratt commissioned Cooke to create a monumental-size version of the Interior of Saint Peter’s, Rome and in 11847 Cooke completed the painting.  It is 17 by 23 feet and was the centerpiece of Pratt’s picture gallery at Prattville, his industrial village in Alabama.  Pratt had collected many of Cooke’s works over the years and continued to do so after the artist’s death in March 1849.  These works included portraits of Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Cooke’s copy of Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington; landscapes of Rome, Naples, Natural Bridge, Virginia, and Niagara Falls; and Cooke’s copies of works by Federico Barocci, Govert Flinck, and Claude Lorrain.  Misfortune plagued Pratt’s collection and Cooke’s National Gallery Painting that he operated in New Orleans.  With the exception of the monumental version of the Interior of Saint Peter’s Rome, most of Pratt’s collection is lost. In 1867 Pratt donated the painting to the University of Georgia, which exhibits it to the present day in its chapel.  It is the only surviving work of Cooke that he executed on a monumental scale.[1] 

The issue of Cooke’s enlargement or reduction in size of his works may have some bearing upon his Death of Julius Caesar.  When Cooke made his second version of The Raft of the Medusa he reduced the size of the work from monumental to a large but traditional size.  When he enlarged his Interior of Saint Peter’s, Rome he expanded a traditional sized interior painting into one of large dimensions.  Is it possible that the artist had some change of dimensions in mind for his Death of Julius Caesar?  Had he painted the small version that survives today as a copy while in Naples, the suggestion might have stronger powers to convince.  The absence of sketches or preliminary studies of Camuccini’s painting also suggests that his painting was an afterthought, but if that were the case, how did he reproduce so many elements of his predecessor’s painting.  At present admirers and students of Cooke’s works must await further developments and perhaps further revelations to grasp more securely the artist’s distinctive foray into the past of Ancient Rome and of Neoclassicalism. 

 

[1] Ibid., 147-8 describes Cooke’s preparation of the large-scale Interior and its donation to the University of Georgia. 

 

[i] Plutarch, 65-66 Christopher Pelling, ed., Plutarch’s Caesar (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 124-5. 
 

[ii] Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Loeb Classics, 1913), 79‒82.
 

[iii] Hardin Craig, ed., The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1961), 769‒96
 

[iv] Marilu Alston Rudulph, [George Cooke and his Paintings,] Georgia Historical Quarterly 44, no. 2 (June 1960):117‒53; Donald D. Keyes, George Cooke 1793‒1849 (Athens: Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, 1991); Kevin E. O’Donnell, “The Artist in the Garden: George Cooke (1793‒1849) and the Ideology of Fine Arts Painting in Antebellum Georgia,” www.faculty.etsu.edu/odonnell/cooke. htm, accessed May 25, 2017.
 

[v] Ulrich Hiesinger, “The Paintings of Vincenzo Camuccini, 1771‒1844,” The Art Bulletin 60, no. 2 (June 1978): 297‒320; Nicholas Teewuwisse, “Vincenzo Camuccini (1771‒1844, Rome), www.teeuwisse.de/catalogues/selected-drawings-ii/the-assassination-of-julius-caesar. html, accessed May 25, 2017l; Lucinda Lubbock, “Vincenzo Camuccini,” Dictionary of Art (Macmillan, 1996), 5:554‒6.  See also James Dafforne, “Rome and Her Works, Part XIX: The Galleries of Camuccini and Corsini,” Art Journal, new series, 1 (November 1862): 217‒20 for a contemporaneous assessment of the significance of The Death of Julius Caesar and the still-relevant biography of Camuccini, Carlo Falconieri, Vida de Vincenzo Camuccini, e Pochi Studi sulla Pittura Contemporaneo (Rome: Stabilimento Tipografico Italiano, 1875).
 

[vi] Alcuni Fatti della Storia Romana dipinti dal Barone Vincenzo Camuccini incise a Bolino da Diversi Artisti . . . . (Rome: Tipografia Camerale, 1835), 47‒53, describe the content and some of the sources for Morte di Giulio Cesare
 

[vii] Alcuni Fatti, 47‒9.
 

[viii] Morgan Nichols, The Roman Forum: A Topographical Study (London: Longman, 1877), 88‒9.  Modern interpretations of the architecture and furnishing of the Curia of Pompey are found at Theatre of Pompey, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_of_Pompey; Theatrum Pompei Project, www.theatre ofpompey.com/auditorium/imagones/sculpture/pzod_pompeypalazzospada.shtml, accessed May 25, 2917.
 

[ix] See George Cooke Passport and Sketchbook, Ms 457, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia. 
 

[x] Anna Wells Rutledge, Artists in the Life of Charleston Through Colony and State from Restoration to Reconstruction (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1980), 154 (quote), 190-1.
 

[xi] The legend of Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome, and of the statue of the Capitoline Wolf are found at this website:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitoline_Wolf.  The rescue of Rome by a flock of geese is recorded at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Juno_Moneta.

 

[xii] The Smithsonian Institution Research Information System lists 84 works by Cooke in its inventory and 42 entries from its rosters of exhibition catalogs.  Those in the exhibitions list are mostly copies that Cooke had made while in Europe, plus a few original works, that he exhibited for sale in New York City, November 11, 1831.  These copies provide valuable information respecting the subjects that interested Cooke and the names of Old Master paintings that Cooke copied.  Camuccini’s Death of Julius Caesar did not appear on the lists.  Cooke’s full-size copy of Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa was also absent from both lists.  See  https://siris-artinventories.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=149XE551624Q7.2729&menu=search&aspect=Keyword&npp=50&ipp=20&spp=20&profile=ariall&ri=&term=&index=.GW&x=0&y=0&aspect=Keyword&term=cooke%2C+george&index=.AW&term=&index=.TW&term=&index=.SW&term=&index=.FW&term=&index=.OW&term=&index=.NW for the list of works reported and https://siris-artexhibition.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=149615R215J2K.112&menu=search&aspect=Keyword&npp=50&ipp=20&spp=20&profile=aeciall&ri=&term=&index=.GW&x=0&y=0&aspect=Keyword&term=cooke%2C+g.&index=.AW&term=&index=.TW&term=&index=.SW&term=&index=.FW&term=&index=.EX&term=&index=.BN&term=&index=.PV&term=&index=.CN for the reports from the 1831 New York exhibition.
 

[xiii] Nina Athanassogolu-Kallmyer, “New Discoveries: An American Copy of Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa,” Nineteenth-Century American Art Worldwide: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture 6, no. 1 (Spring 2007), www.19thc-artworldwide.org/spring07/46-spring07/rticle/140-new-discoveries-an-american-copy-of-gericault’s-raft-of-the-medusa, accessed May 27, 2017. 
 

[xv] https://siris-artexhibition.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=YB9616411F842.124&profile=aeciall&uri=full=3100016~!122613~!53&ri=3&aspect=Keyword&menu=search&source=~!siaeci&ipp=20&spp=20&staffonly=&term=caesar&index=.SW&uindex=&aspect=Keyword&menu=search&ri=3
 

[xvi] https://siris-artexhibition.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=J4G616810051R.132&profile=aeciall&uri=full=3100016~!33179~!15&ri=1&aspect=Keyword&menu=search&source=~!siaeci&ipp=20&spp=20&staffonly=&term=caesar&index=.SW&uindex=&aspect=Keyword&menu=search&ri=1
 

[xvii] https://siris-artexhibition.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=J4G616810051R.132&profile=aeciall&uri=full=3100016~!32930~!14&ri=4&aspect=Keyword&menu=search&source=~!siaeci&ipp=20&spp=20&term=caesar&index=.SW&uindex=&aspect=Keyword&menu=search&ri=4
 

[xviii] Catalogue of New York State Library (Albany: Charles Van Benthuysen, 1857), 119-20, listed 17 engravings, including The Death of Julius Caesar.
 

[xix] Rudulph, “Paintings of George Cooke,” 148. Rudulph quoted an article in the New York Mirror, December 12, 1834, respecting Cooke’s abilities to enlarge the dimensions of his works as he made copies of them. 


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