Piranesi, frontispiece to Views of Rome


Giovanni Battista Piranesi.  Frontispiece from Vedute di Roma.  Rome, ca. 1778.  State 5, first posthumous edition.  19 1/2 x 25.  Etching.  Very good condition.

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78) is renowned for his splendid views of ancient and modern Rome.  In a lifetime dedicated to recording these magnificent buildings and mysterious ruins, he created a prodigious oeuvre of dramatic and moving images.  The large scale Vedute di Roma is one of the best known and extensive series and the one that established Piranesi’s reputation.  Where much of his earlier work, namely the Grotteschi and the Carceri, was more fantastic in subject matter, these views were meant to be careful delineations of principal sites.  As such, they became very sought after souvenirs for tourists in Rome.  As examples of Piranesi’s artistic prowess they are powerful renderings of great architectural and sculptural monuments.