Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

[Antique print, etching, Piranesi] Veduta di un Sepolcro antico. (View of an ancient tomb in an vineyard on the road to Tivoli), published 1756-1784, 1 p.

Plate XXIX from the II out of four volumes collection Le Antichità Romane collecting plates by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, firstly published by Angelo Rotili in Rome between 1756 and 1757. The second edition appeared in 1784. Original wide margins, no traces of binding or folding. Title and description within the illustration plate.

Titled below: ‘Veduta di un Sepolcro antico esistente in una vigna per la str~da a di Tivoli circa passi 50 discosto da Ponte Lugano.

Signed on the bottom right: ‘Piranesi Architetto dis. e scol.’

“The view of the present sepulchral building, whose representation in plan and elevation is reproduced in plate XXXVIII, is part of the series of 11 engravings published around 1750 with the title Camere sepolcrali degli antichi Romani.
[…] This grave had already been the subject of interest in the Renaissance period, and was subsequently illustrated in the famous collection of funeral monuments curated by Pietro Santi Bartoli (1697, plate 47, 1349/51). The comparison between this image and that of Bartoli clearly testifies to the modernity of Piranesi’s compositional approach: to the dull and approximate panel of the Perugian engraver, he contrasts a vibrant, poetic composition, rigorously realistic in the relief of the monument as much as imaginative in the rendering of the scenario.
Piranesi freely interprets the landscape context, removing from the image the farmhouse leaning against the south and east sides of the tomb and the superfetation present on the top of the altar – both visible both in the table by Bartoli and in the one subsequently edited by Nibby (Viaggio antiquario ne’ contorni di Roma, 1819, p.118) – and reproducing in their place some ruined wall hangings, which amplify the romanticism of the figuration. The scenic layout is completed with the grafting of elements typical of Piranesian poetics, namely the fragments of antiquity scattered in the foreground, the explosive vegetation, the figures who unwittingly wander among the ruins and the leaden sky that slopes into the distance. A drawing of this subject is also known, conserved in Florence at the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Uffizi (inv. 96007); however, the sheet does not show any correspondence with the matrix [plate] under examination.
The plate is characterized by the monumentality of the sepulcher, rendered through the lowered point of view, and the vibrant pictorialism, iconographically favored by the angular vision that accentuates the luministic effects and the dynamic potential of the composition. […].” (Ciro Salnitro, ICG, Rome).

Translated title: View of an ancient tomb in an vineyard on the road to Tivoli… / Gezicht op een oud graf in een wijngaard op de weg naar Tivoli.

Etching with some interventions in burin on hand laid paper, with broad margins; plate mark: 605 x 399 mm;  total 805 x 550 mm; some tiny holes within plate, somewhat frayed end margins with some rubbing,  a small tear on the top margin, otherwise in great condition.

Incl. BTW  254,10

Excl. BTW  210,00

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