Veduta dell’ Anfiteatro Flavio, detto il Colosseo – Giovanni Battista Piranesi Prints
VEDUTE DE ROMA. Giovanni Battista Piranesi Prints
Vedute di Roma
Piranesi started working on these etchings from about 1748.
Initially, Bouchard et Gravier, his publishers sold the Vedute di Roma as single plates or as collections,
Firstly, Piranesi would go each evening to Bouchard’s shop to see which of his views sold best, and to hear customer’s comments.
The plates quickly became the rage, and all day the artist would work frenetically in his studio, refusing entrance to anyone.
His growing reputation brought admirers knocking at his studio door.
He is reputed to have rudely shouted “Piranesi isn’t in, you will find him at Bouchard’s”!
In about 1760 Piranesi opened a new establishment at Palazzo Tomati in Strada Felice. There he was able to take complete control of the business, from the print making right through to the selling.
During the following two decades he produced a huge amount of work.
After his death in 1778 the business continued to flourish, Francesco Piranesi adding 2 final plates to the 135 made by his father.
Piranesi’s heirs continued to sell in Rome until 1799 when they fled the city and set up Business in Paris in 1800. Where the First Paris edition was sold from 1800 to 1807.
Francesco died in 1810, and the plates were acquired by the Parisian firm of Firmin – Didot. Francesco issued prints from 1835 to 1839. After which, what became the Regia Calcografia in Rome, bought them.
Prints and sets were issued there from 1870 onwards.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78)
When Piranesi first arrived in Rome in 1740 there was an already established market for views of the city as Grand Tour souvenirs.
His Vedute however, executed from about 1748 until the end of his life transcended mere topographical accuracy. And became a heroic and tragic vision to the power of Roman architecture.
Two aspects of Piranesi’s Venetian background were key to the enabling of this vision:
- his training in engineering and stone construction which helped engender an appreciation of the effects of massive masonry. The poetic effect of ruins
- and his training in stage design which cultivated a sensitivity to effects of light and great skill in both linear and atmospheric perspective.
These architectonic/scenographic concerns found heightened and highly personal expression in Piranesi’s series of fantastic prison interiors. The Carceri d’Invenzione – which first appeared in the 1740’s.
A highly imaginative eclecticism of style characterised Piranesi’s work as a designer. A trait reflecting his belief in a creative attitude towards the use of antique sources.