In the 1830s, artist Thomas Cole traveled to throughout Europe to find more subjects to paint and further his studies in art. One of the most important visits that he made was to Rome, Italy. Here he painted places such as the Vatican, Saint Peter's Basilica, as well as the interior of the Coliseum. These are all very important structures, and he figured out a theme that he wanted to convey through his paintings. This theme encompassed the idea of time as well as natural decay in terms of architectural structures. This painting is called the Interior of the Coliseum and was painted in 1832. During the first four months of Cole’s first trip through Europe. The broken columns and crumbling walls are what fascinated Thomas Cole about this scene and made him want to paint it. These details give off a melancholy and somber feel that he really wanted to convey with this piece of art. The arches upon arches and arched passageways gave him the impression he was in a place of strength, power, and untold stories. This feeling is what made Cole realize that he could do more with his art than just paint beautiful landscapes; he could convey different stories about fallen empires and times of nostalgia before industrialization. With this painting, he wanted to convey how time and natural forces, though destructive, can ultimately improve a piece of architecture by showing how it can retreat back into wilderness.