|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 del. scol. [Rome, c. 1775]|
|Dimensions||Image 380 x 535 mm, Plate 400 x 540 mm, Sheet 490 x 638 mm|
A view of St. Peter Basilica and Piazzi in the Vatican, with coaches and fountain in the foreground, from the Vedute di Roma. This was the first plate of the series, and was undoubtedly chosen because of the patronage Piranesi had received from Pope Clement XIII. The following plates in the series were views of the other three Papal Basilicas: St. Paul outside the Walls, St John Lateran, and Santa Maria Maggiore. The view is a particularly lively one, with crowds of people and coaches crowding the Piazza and colonnades.
St Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world, one of the holiest sites in Roman Catholicism, and the site of St Peter's tomb. The current structure replaced the old St Peter's Basilica, built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD. It was complete in 1626 in the Renaissance style, to a architectural plan designed by Bramante, Michelangelo, and Bernini. Alongside the ruins of Roman monuments, Rome's churches were an equal source of inspiration for artists and architects on the grand tour. In addition to its size, scale, and furnishings, St Peter's also boasted the collections of art and archaeology housed in the Vatican museums, which were a major attraction for Piranesi's clientele.
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 3. iv/vii (4th Rome edition, printed towards the end of the artist's life), Wilton-Ely 136, F787, C687.
Condition: Good clean impression with pressed vertical centre fold.