Arco di Settimio Severo

Method Etching
Artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Published Presso l'Autore a Strada Felice nel palazzo Tomati vicino alla Trinita de monti. A paoli due e mezzo. Piranesi Architetto fec. [Rome c.1775]
Dimensions Image 350 x 580 mm, Plate 375 x 590 mm, Sheet 520 x 755 mm
Notes Inscription beneath title reads: Nel mezzo di questo passava l'antica Via sacra che portava i Trionf.ti in Campid.o. 'Through which passed the ancient Via Sacra that brought victors to the Capitol.'

A perspective view of the Arch of Septimus Severus in the Roman Forum with the Church of Saints Martina and Luca on the right, from the Vedute di Roma. In addition to the two central monuments, the ancient Mamertine Prison, the Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and the approaches to the Capitoline and Palatine are numbered and described. In Piranesi's time, flooding from the Tibur had buried much of the Forum in alluvial soil, and the arch is buried so deeply that the smaller apertures on each side of the main passage are almost impassable.

The Arch of Septimius Severus was dedicated in AD 203 in celebration of the emperor's Parthian Wars. The arch effectively filled one of the last remaining sections of vacant land on the Sacred Way, ensuring that Septimius' arch was the last triumphal monument a triumphing general would see on his way up to the Capitol. The arch was richly decorated with relief sculpture, including a number of scenes featuring the emperor's sons, Caracalla and Geta. Caracalla ordered the removal of Geta's image after engineering his assassination in AD 212.

The Vedute di Roma was Piranesi's most popular and best known series, celebrating the churches, monuments, ruins, bridges, fountains, and public spaces of the city of Rome. The immense popularity of the series meant that they were in constant demand, and Piranesi continued to reissue and add to the series from the 1740s until his death in 1778. The Vedute were particularly popular with British grand tourists, and had a profound effect on the British neoclassical movement. Demand was such that the series was reprinted numerous times after Piranesi's death, including two Paris editions published by his sons, Francesco and Pietro.

Giovanni Battista (also Giambattista) Piranesi (1720 – 1778) was an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons" (the Carceri d'Invenzione). He was a major Italian printmaker, architect and antiquarian. The son of a Venetian master builder, he studied architecture and stage design, through which he became familiar with Illusionism. During the 1740's, when Rome was emerging as the centre of Neoclassicism, Piranesi began his lifelong obsession with the city's architecture. He was taught to etch by Giuseppe Vasi and this became the medium for which he was best known.

Hind 54. iii/vi (3rd Rome edition, printed towards the end of the artist's life), Wilton-Ely 165, F809, C768.

Condition: Pressed vertical centre fold. Otherwise a good clean impression with full margins.
Framing unmounted
Price £2,200.00
Stock ID 44824