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Giovanni Battista Piranesi

(1720 Mogliano – 1778 Rome)

Antiquus Bivii Viarum Appiae et Ardinatinae ... Etching. 40 x 63.5 cm. Focillon 25. Watermark: Fleur-de-lis in a double circle.

The inscription indicates that this fantastic capriccio shows the junction between the ancient Via Appia and the Via Ardentina two miles outside the Porta Capena. The print served as the second frontispiece to a magnum opus by Piranesi, Le Antichità Romane, a monumental series of four volumes documenting in a very evocative manner the ruins of the ancient burial sites in the city of Rome and its immediate surroundings. The work, published in 1756, had a lasting effect on architects and artists in the second half of the 18th and early part of the 19th century. Piranesi’s genius enables him to blend the revival of interest in archaeology in his time with a highly idiosyncratic, visionary imagination and abundant artistic creativity. Piranesi’s figurative world apparently knew no bounds and his immense energy enabled him to produce an opulent and varied printed oeuvre, which not only deeply impressed his contemporaries, but also continues to exert a tremendous attraction on today’s beholders of his works. A very fine, even impression with wide margins. With the customary central fold, slight foxing in the lower margin, otherwise in very good condition. 

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