Temple of Pola in Istria

Method Etching with engraving
Artist Domenico Cunego after Charles Louis Clérisseau
Published [Rome, 1760-1767]
Dimensions Image 404 x 573 mm, Plate 460 x 596 mm, Sheet 526 x 715 mm
Notes Inscription reads: 'Vulgarly called the the temple of Diana dedicated by the Republick of Pola to Rome and Augustus as the inscription of the frontispiece denoteth.'
French translation of title and inscription below image to right.

Plate 13 from Cunego's Views of Antique Buildings and Famous Ruins in Italy, depicting a view of the Temple of Augustus at Pula in modern day Croatia. The small adjoining building between the temple and the arch of the Communal Palace at left has since been removed. In the foreground are a number of figural groups, including a group of soldiers in Ottoman costume lounging in the arcade of the Communal Palace, a group of women collecting vegetables, and a lady and child with a dog sitting on the temple stairs.

The Temple of Augustus at Pula is the only remaining section of a temple precinct that originally housed three similar temples. The Temple of Diana described in the title of this plate originally stood to the far right of the precinct and was of similar dimensions to the surviving building. Between the two was a much larger temple, probably dedicated to Roma. Built at some point in the first decade of the first century AD, the temple was decorated with an elaborate frieze, much of which still survives, and a bronze-lettered dedication to Augustus as 'Father of the Fatherland.' Following the Roman period, the building was converted into a Byzantine Church.

The 14 plates of Cunego's Views of Antique Buildings and Famous Ruins in Italy were based upon the series of paintings by the French antiquary and artist, Charles Louis Clérisseau. Although far less prolific than his contemporary, Piranesi, Cunego's Views show a similar talent for architectural and archaeological detail. The scope of this series is also far broader than those of Piranesi, being some of the very first depictions of Roman ruins outside the city of Rome, particular some lesser-known and lesser-studied monuments that would not draw proper scholarly attention until the following century. Cunego's work as a figural engraver is also apparent in these plates, with many of the foregrounds of his ruins populated by daily-life scenes.

Domenico Cunego (1727 - 1803) was an Italian engraver and painter. Although he began his career studying under the painter Francesco Ferrari, producing several works all of which are now lost or untraceable, at the age of 18, Cunego shifted to the field of engraving. It is possible that he was a self-taught engraver. Primarily a reproductive engraver, Cunego engraved works after artists such as Michelangelo, Guido Reni, and Antonio Balestra. Cunego also reproduced works after British artists in Italy, particularly those catering to Grand Tourists. A contemporary of Piranesi, Cunego was involved in many of the same circles, working closely with the art and antiquities dealer, Gavin Hamilton, and producing some of the plates for Robert Adam's celebrated Ruins of the palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764).

Charles Louis Clérisseau (1721 – 1820) was a French architectural draughtsman, antiquary and artist. As a student of the painter Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Clérisseau became a key figure in the development of neoclassical architecture during the second half of the 18th century. While in Italy, he met the British architect and artist Robert Adam, and was a major inspiration for Adam's undertaking to record the remains of Diocletian's Palace at Split in modern day Croatia. It is likely that many of the initial drawings for this publication were undertaken by Clérisseau himself, to be engraved later by the Italian Domenico Cunego. Cunego would go on to engrave a series of Italian Views after paintings by Clérisseau. Like many British artists based in Rome, Clérisseau supplemented his artistic living by acting as a tour-guide and dealer for his fellow Frenchmen. As a result, he was part of the well-connected circle of artists and dealers operating in Rome during the latter half of the eighteenth century, including Piranesi, Gavin Hamilton, and Thomas Jenkyns.

Condition: Good clean impression. Old repair to split centre fold at top and bottom of sheet, into image. Light staining to margins from previous mount.
Framing framed
Price £950.00
Stock ID 36810