Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae: The Arch of Constantine, Rome
Renaissance representation of classical ruins was a symbol of antiquity, enlightenment, and lost knowledge. Ruins spoke to the passage of time. The greatest subject for ruin artists was the overgrown and crumbling Classical Rome remains. Forum and the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Appian Way. Initially, art representations of Rome were realistic, but soon the imagination of artists took flight. Roman ruins were scattered around the city, but frustrated artists began placing them in more pleasing arrangements. Capriccio was a style of imaginary scenes of buildings and ruins.
Printmaking in woodcut and engraving came to Northern Italy within a few decades of their invention north of the Alps. Engraving probably came first to Florence in the 1440s, the goldsmith Maso Finiguerra (1426–64) used the technique. Italian engraving caught the very early Renaissance, 1460–1490. Print copying was a widely accepted practice, as well as copying of paintings viewed as images in their own right.