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The first frontispiece to Antichità romane IV was dedicated to Piranesi's patron the first Earl of Charlemont. However, the promised sponsorship never eventuated, so the artist created this second version, in which he laid out his reasons for the change. Triumphal arches were often placed on the main roads leading into a city, but here Piranesi imagines a river symbolising access, both as a means of transport but also access to the sea as a means of maintaining nautical power. The reclining figure in the foreground is an ancient river god.
- Vindicibus et Protectoribus Bonarum Artium I B Piranesius. (G B Piranesi [dedicates this work] to the Champions and Defenders of the Fine Arts). Frontispiece to Volume IV A monumental Roman harbour.
- Production date
- 403 x 537 mm
- Credit line
- Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Dr Walter Auburn, 1982
- Accession no
- No known copyright restrictions
- International Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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