The city of Rome confronted and confronts visitors from abroad with a multiplicity of layers. There were and still are ancient ruins like the Colosseum, visible in the past and today; the antiquities that continued to be discovered throughout the modern period; and the living city and its residents. This multiple time frame had a profound influence on many of the artists who came to Rome. The superimposed temporalities made simple narrative painting impossible. In their attempts to find ways of accommodating that time frame, some artists - Nicolas Poussin, Gustave Moreau, Jean-Léon Gérôme, J.M.W. Turner among others - hit upon compositional techniques that, with hindsight, we now associate with Modernism. This study aims to shift the discussion of Modernism away from the conventional Paris-New York axis to throw light on the other modernists.