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Giovanni Battista Piranesi

(Italian, 1720–1778)

View of the Piazza Navona on the Ruins of the Circus Agonalis, from the Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome)

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Object Details

Artist

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Date

ca. 1745-78

Medium

Etching, first state

Dimensions

Plate: 18 3/8 × 27 1/2 inches (46.7 × 69.9 cm)
Sheet: 20 5/8 × 30 3/8 inches (52.4 × 77.2 cm)

Credit Line

Acquired through the Professor and Mrs. M. H. Abrams Purchase Fund

Object
Number

2013.025

Piranesi began work on his most famous series of views, the Vedute di Roma, about 1747 and continued(…)

Piranesi began work on his most famous series of views, the Vedute di Roma, about 1747 and continued producing plates up to his death in 1778. These ancient and contemporary views of Roman landmarks became a touchstone for eighteenth-century visitors who brought them home as tourist souvenirs. Their remarkable popularity and collectability continues today, particularly for richly inked early impressions like this one. Here Piranesi shows a contemporary view of Piazza Navona and references its ancient origins (“sopra le rovine del Circo Agonale”), describing it as built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, Rome’s first permanent venue for competitions where ancient Romans went to watch track, field, and equestrian events.

The Johnson Museum holds about forty individual plates by Piranesi. Under the curatorship of Andrew Weislogel the old master print collection is being carefully developed to fill gaps in existing holdings and to add stellar impressions such as this view from the Vedute di Roma.

(“Highlights from the Collection: 45 Years at the Johnson,” curated by Stephanie Wiles and presented at the Johnson Museum January 27–July 22, 2018)

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