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Le Antichità Romane Opera Di Giambatista Piranesi Architetto Veneziano Divisa In Quattro Tomi Nel Primo De' Quali Si Contengono Gli Avanzi Degli Edifizi Di Roma Disposti In Tavola Topografica Secondo L'Odierna Loro Esistenza Ed Illustrati co' Frammenti Dell' Antica Icnografia Marmoria, E Con Un Indice Critico Della Loro Denominazione Arrichito Di Tavole Suppletorie Fralle Quali Si Dimostrano L'elevazione degli stessi avanzi: l'andamento degli antichi Aquedotti nelle vicinanze e nel dentro di Roma, correlativo al Commentario Frontiniano ivi esposto in compendio: la Pianta delle Terme le più cospicue: del Foro Romano colle Contrade circonvicine: del Monte Capitolino: ed altre le più riguardevoli. Nel Secondo, E Nel Terzo Gli Avanzi de' Monumenti Sepolcrali esistenti in Roma, e nell' Agro Romano colle loro rispettive piante, elevazioni, sezioni, vedute esterne ed interne: colla dimostrazione de' sarcofagi, ceppi, vasi cenerari e unguentari, bassirilievi, stucchi, musaici, iscrizioni, e tuti' altro ch'è stato in essi ritrovato: e colle loro indicazioni e spiegazioni. Nel Quarto I Ponti antichi di Roma che inoggi sono in essere, colle Vestigia dell' antica Isola Tiberina, gli Avanzi de' Teatri, de' Portici, e di altri Monumenti, eziandio colle loro indicazioni e spiegazioni. Tomo Primo. (-Quarto.)

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

RA Collection: Book

Record number

03/2700

Author

Variant Title

Urbis Aeternae Vestigia E Ruderibus Temporumque Iniuriis Vindicata

Imprint

In Roma,: MDCCLVI. [-1761.], Nella Stamperia Di Angelo Rotili Nel Palazzo De' Massimi. Con Licenza De' Superiori. Si Vendono In Roma Dai Signori Bouchard, E Gravier Mercanti Librai Al Corso Presso San Marcello.

Physical Description

4 vols.; 538 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

Vol. I: [6], 40, xi, [1], iii, [1], iv, iii, [3] p., port., 44 [i.e. 74] pl. (7 dble., 3 dble. and fold.); illus. Plates numbered 8-37 each carry two separate prints. Pl. 1 is the engr. dedic., pl. 2 is a map; pl. 6, 7 carry engraved text only. Some copies are without the unnumbered portrait of Piranesi; some (later) issues have a portrait of Pope Clement XIII instead; some have both portraits. In some copies (including that of the Royal Academy) the plates are additionally inscribed 'Tom. I' top left or right. - Vol. II: 63 pl. (44 dble., 1 dble. & fold.). Pl. 1 is engr. t.-pl., pl. 2 is frontis.; pl. 3 carries engraved text only. In some copies (including that of the Royal Academy) the plates are additionaly inscribed 'Tom. II' top left or right. In some (early) copies the plates are unnumbered. - Vol. III: 54 pl. (43 dble, 1 dble. & fold.) The first plate is the title-pl. In some copies (including that of the Royal Academy) the plates are additionally inscribed 'Tom. III' top left or right. In some (early) copies the plates are unnumbered. - Vol. IV: 57 (23 dble., 5 dble. & fold.). The first plate is the title-pl.; the third carries engraved text only. In some copies (including that of the Royal Academy) the plates are additionally inscribed 'Tom. IV' top right or left. In some (early) copies the plates are unnumbered. Some (early) copies are without the final plate LVII; other (later) copies have both this and also two additional plates inserted between pl. XLIV and XLV (one numbered XLIV, the other unnumbered).

Contents

Vol. I: [Port., t.p.] - [Pl. I (engr. dedic.)] - Prefazione ... - Imprimatur (1756) - Opera sinora date in luce dall'Autore ... - [Pl. II-V] - [Pl. VI, VII:] Indice de' Frammti. di marmo della Pianta di Roma antica - Indice A Sia Spiegazione Delle Vestigia Di Roma Antica, Delineata Nell' Anteposta Tavola Topografica - [Pl. VIII-XXXVII] - [Pl. XXXVIII] - Spiegazione Della Preposta Tavola Degli Aquedotti - Osservazioni Sulle determinazione de' limiti del Campo Marzio compreso nella stessa Tavola degli Aquedotti - [Pl. XXXIX, XL] - Indice Dell' Anteposta Tavola Delle Terme Di Caracalla - [Pl. XLI-XLIII] - Indice Dell' Anteposta Tavola Del Foro Romano, E Delle Contrade Comprese Nella Medesima - [Pl. XLIIII] - Indice Dell' Anteposta Tavola Del Monte Capitolino - Repertorio Degli Avanzi delle Antiche Fabbriche di Roma denominati in questo primo Tomo. - Vol. II: [Pl.I (t.-pl.):] Le Antichità Romane Di Giambatista Piranesi Architetto Veneziano Tomo Secondo Contenente Gli Avanzi De' Monumenti Sepolcrali Di Roma E Dell' Agro Romano - Pl. II (engr. frontis.)] - [Pl. III:] Indice Del Contenuto In Questo Secondo Tomo E Nel Terzo - [Pl. IV-LXIII]. - Vol. III: [Pl. I (t.-pl.):] Le Antichità Romane Di Giamb. Piranesi Archit. Venez Tomo Terzo Contenente Gli Avanzi De' Monumenti Sepolcrali Di Roma E Dell' Agro Romano - [Pl. II. (etched frontis.)] - [Pl. III-LIV]. - Vol. IV: [Pl. I (t.-pl.):] Le Antichità Romane Di Giambatista Piranesi Architetto Veneziano Tomo Quarto Contenente I Ponti Antichi Gli Avanzi De' Teatri De' Portici E Di Altri Monumenti Di Roma - [Pl. II (etched frontis.)] - [Pl. III:] Indice Del Contenuto In Questo Quarto Tomo - [Pl. IV-LVII].

Responsibility Note

The Volume I portrait of Piranesi is signed as made by F. Polanzani (and dated 1750). Plates III: 24, 26 are signed as drawn by Antonio Buonamici and engraved by Girolamo Rossi; III: 27 is also signed as engraved by Girolamo Rossi but carries no draughtsman's name. A few plates are unsigned, viz. vol. I: 5, 6, 7, 18 fig. 2; vol. II: 3, 11, 19, 25, 34; vol. III: 21, 23, 31-38; vol. IV: 3, 30, 34, 37, 44, 51, 56. All other plates are signed as drawn and engraved by Piranesi (vol. I: 38 and vol. II: 1 as 'made' by him). Plates II: 12-15, 20, 33, 35, 46 and III: 27-29, 46, 48, as well as being signed as drawn and engraved by Piranesi, also state that Barbault engraved the figures. The text of Volume I includes six etched initials, an etched head-piece and an etched inscription. All are signed by Piranesi, except the inscription and two of the initials. In early states the work is dedicated by 'Ioannes Baptista Piranesius Architectus' to 'Iacobo Caulfield Vicecomiti De Charlemont'. Later copies show either blanks where Charlemont's name had been or a new dedication 'Utilitati Publicae'.

References

National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard, 4 (2000), 88; RIBA, Early printed, 3 (1999), 2550; Giovanni Battista Piranesi: the complete etchings, ed. J. Wilson-Ely (1994), 279-528; J. Wilton-Ely, Piranesi [exhibition caalogue] (1978), 115-137; A.M. Hind, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1922 repr. 1978), 83-84; H. Focillon, Giovanni-Battista Piranesi (1918 repr. 1964), 144-395. The background is studied in Exploring Rome: Piranesi and his contemporaries [exhibition catalog] (Montreal, 1993); Piranesi e la veduta del Settecento a Roma [exhibition catalog] (s.l.: Artemide Edizioni, 1989); Piranesi e la cultura antiquaria (1983); O. Neverov, 'Giovanni Battista Piranesi, der Antikensammler', in Xenia, 3 (1982), p.71-89; J. Wilton-Ely, The mind and art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1979), ch. 3, 'The artist as archaeologist'; W. Oechslin, 'L'intérêt archéologique et l'expérience architecturale avant et après Piranesi', in Piranèse et les Français, ed. G. Brunel (1978).

Summary Note

This work is a fruit of Piranesi's admiration for ancient Roman architecture and an affirmation of its distinct achievements in the face of those who were emphasising the priority of the architecture of the ancient Greeks. His first archaeological publications had been the Camere sepolcrali (ca. 1752) and the Trofei di Ottaviano Augusto (1753); but in 1754, having, as he believed, the promise of sponsorship from Lord Charlemont, he began preparing this much larger work. The work incorporates earlier plates, and itself went through several issues. Reused here (Vol. II. pl. 8-10, 16, 39 and Vol. III. pl. 1, 12, 21, 23-26) are twelve plates of the Camere sepolcrali. And several of the 60 small plates of Volume I, which resemble the picturesque views made by Piranesi at the beginning of his career for various Roman guide-books, may originally have been made for other purposes (views XV(2) and XVII(2) were evidently made before 1747 and 1746 respectively). The first issue has most plates unnumbered and without volume numbers, and probably included the portrait of Piranesi by Polanzani. In January 1757 the lettering of the dedication plate (to Ld. Charlemont) was erased. In October 1757 issues appeared with a replacement dedication in Volume I (to 'Utilitati Publicae') and altered dedications in Volumes III, IV, and perhaps with some of the text re-set (cf. leaf A1 in one of the British Library copies). (In the same year Piranesi's two hostile letters to Charlemont were published; and are sometimes found bound in with the Antichità Romane.) Later in 1757 a plate (LVII) was added to Volume IV (and the list of subjects on pl. III of that volume updated accordingly). In 1761 plate III of Volume II was reworked to include at the foot Piranesi's imprint and address (a new address in Strada Felice); and it was probably now that the portrait of Clement XIII was added to (or in some copies substituted for) that of Piranesi. (This portrait of the pope was also used in Piranesi's Della Magnificenza of 1761.) Lastly, two plates showing the temple of Juno were added between plates XLIV and XLV of Volume IV and pl. XLV was reworked. In 1784 a new edition was produced by Francesco Piranesi, which has a re-set letter-press, a new dedication (to Gustav III), a new portrait of Piranesi replacing that by Polanzani, and two new plates in Volume I (pl. XLV and XLVI). The Royal Academy's copy appears to be an issue of 1761 or later; for it has all plates numbered and carrying volume numbers, the new 1757 dedication and new 1757 plate LVII in Volume IV, and the reworked 1761 plate III of Volume II incorporating Piranesi's imprint with his new address. But it retains the Polanzani portrait of Piranesi (rather than that of Clement XIII); and it doesn't have the additional plates between plates XLIV and XLV of Volume IV. (Moreover its copy has bound in after plate XXXVIII of Volume I the plate XXXVIII of Piranesi's Della Magnificenza Ed Architettura De' Romani of 1761.) The difference between Piranesi and Lord Charlemont which led to the conspicuous alterations in the dedication plates of this work was based on a misunderstanding. Discussing his project with Charlemont in 1754, Piranesi believed that he had the promise of Charlemont's patronage in return for the engraved dedication. When financial support was not forthcoming from Charlemont or his agent in Rome, Piranesi in 1757 excised Charlemont's name from the engraved dedication - in imitation of the ancient Roman practice of 'damnatio memoriae', whereby the Senate would excise the names of disgraced persons from public monuments - and published two Lettere Di Giustificazione setting out his side of the argument. Early in 1758 he expanded this publication to three letters with annotations; but in March that year was induced to publish a luke-warm apology. An immediate and more positive out-come of this great feat of publication was Piranesi's election in April 1757 to fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries in London, a recognition to which he refers on the title-plates of almost all his succeeding publications.

Provenance

Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Copy Note

The Academy's copy has a plate numbered 'XXXVIII' bound in after plate XXXVIII in Volume I. This is plate XXXVIII of Piranesi's Della Magnificenza Ed Architettura De' Romani (1761).

Binding Note

The four volumes are bound as two. 18th-century mottled calf, upper covers gilt-stamped with royal arms of Britain and 'R.A.'; rebacked in 20th century, red and green spine-labels lettered 'Antichità Romane Piranesi', spines lettered 'T. I, II. R.A. 1756 (T. III, IV. R.A. 1756)'.

Name as Subject

Frontinus, De aquis urbis Romae

Subject

Antiquities, Roman - Architecture, Roman - Public buildings, Roman - Sepulchral monuments, Roman - Ruins - Italy - Rome - History
Views - Vedute - Plans - Elevations - Sections - Maps - Italy - Rome - 18th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 18th century
Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 18th century

Contributors

Frontinus, De aquis urbis Romae
Angelo Rotili, printer
Giovanni Bouchard, bookseller
Jean Barbault, engraver
Francesco Polanzani, engraver
Antonio Buonamici, draughtsman
Girolamo Rossi, engraver
Giovanni Battista Piranesi, draughtsman, engraver
Bouchard et Gravier (Rome), bookseller