Vestigie delle Terme Diocletiane – Giovanni Battista Piranesi Prints
Rome, Ridolfino Venuti 1763 – Giovanni Battista Piranesi Prints
120 x 180 mm
From the series of small views Piranesi made in the early years of his career, originally published in 1748
They are of particular importance in plotting the early development of Piranesi’s graphic skills, as they range from his first tentative efforts to some highly sophisticated compositions.
FIRST EDITION of one of the most important books on the topography of Rome in the 18th century. Containing 96 fine engraved plates including 19 by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
They were first published in his Varie Vedute of 1748.
A complete catalogue of Venuti’s works, a complete list of the members of the Roman Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of London is given at end
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. In particular 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.
Piranesi’s work as a designer is characterised by a highly imaginative eclecticism of style. A trait reflecting his belief in a creative attitude towards the use of antique sources.