|Artist||Giovanni Battista Piranesi|
|Published||Piranesi Architetto fec. [Rome, 1748]|
|Dimensions||Image 378 x 596 mm, Plate 398 x 600 mm, Sheet 548 x 775 mm|
Inscription after title reads: 'Architettura di Michelagnolo Buonarota. Questa fu eretta in parte sopra i fondamenti del Circo Neroniano. 1. Luogo ove si lavorano i Mosaici di S. Pietro. 2. Sagristia: vicino a questa usciva dal terreno in piede l'Obelisco, che ora si vede nella Piazza di S. Pietro, e faceva centro sulla Spina del Circo Sudd.to. 3. La gran Cupola, nella cima della quale evvi la Palla di metallo, dentro cui ci capiscono circa venti persone. 4. Monte Vaticano. 5. Avanzi di Colonne di Granito e marmo Pario, le quali reggevano il Settizonio, demolito da Sisto V.'
A rare first state impression of Piranesi's view of the Vatican Basilica from the East. The numbered inscription below the image indicates important aspects of the basilica, notably Michelangelo's Dome, and the remains of a large granite and Parian-marble column from the Severan-era Septizodium.
The Papal Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican is one of the four Major Basilicae of the Roman Catholic Church, and the largest Christian church in the world. The current Renaissance-era church stands on the site of original Vatican Basilica, built by the Roman emperor Constantine to mark the alleged burial place of St Peter. Because of St Peter's connection to the papacy, the church has become the most prominent of Catholic sites of worship and pilgrimage, despite the fact that the Archbasilica of St John Lateran holds formal primacy as the seat of the Pope as Bishop of Rome.
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 5. i/vii, Wilton-Ely 153, Focillon 789, C691
Condition: Strong, clean impression on full margins. Minor repaired tears to bottom margin, not affecting plate or image. Central vertical crease.