Piranesi’s view of the Campidoglio
By PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista, 1774
Veduta della Piazza del Campidoglio.
- Author: PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista
- Publication place: [Rome
- Publication date: 1774].
- Physical description: First state before numbers, etching on 2 sheets joined, (image size 688 x 441 mm), full margins showing the plate mark, on laid paper with a fleur-de-lis in single circle watermark, 2 cm tear at base of join, remnants of binders glue to left-hand edge. 733 x 512 (approx. 29 x 20.25 inches).
- Dimensions: 733 by 512mm. (28.75 by 20.25 inches).
- Inventory reference: 12732
Piranesi’s large-scale print, Veduta della Piazza del Campidoglio, shows one of Rome’s most important city centers. Located on the top of the Capitoline hill, the site housed a series of antique temples that had been entirely replaced with newer monumental structures built between the 12th and 18th centuries. However, the Piazza, elegantly designed by Michelangelo, is centered on an antique equestrian bronze of Marcus Aurelius that harks back to the site’s ancient roots. Piranesi’s etching shows the Campidoglio in the late afternoon. An atmospheric sky casts a long dark shadow across the foreground, contrasting starkly with the brightly lit piazza. People of all social standings, from aristocrats in carriages to poor salesmen hauling baskets of goods, populate the scene and add to its realistic qualities. The monumental buildings that surround the piazza and dwarf the bystanders are rendered in exquisite detail – a testament to the prowess of the artist who is capable of stunning us with his virtuosity.
- Hind 111.1.
- Hind, Arthur. (1978). Giovanni Battista Piranesi. London: Holland Press.