Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Veduta del sotterraneo Fondamento del Mausoleo, che fu eretto da Elio Adriano Imp ... (View of the subterranean foundatins of the Mausoleum built by the Emperor Hadrian ...) Vertical section of the buttresses of Hadrian's mausoleum (Spaccato degli Speroni, i quali servono de contrafforti al gran fondamento del Mauso d'elio Adriano)

Veduta del sotterraneo Fondamento del Mausoleo, che fu eretto da Elio Adriano Imp ... (View of the subterranean foundatins of the Mausoleum built by the Emperor Hadrian ...) Vertical section of the buttresses of Hadrian's mausoleum (Spaccato degli Speroni, i quali servono de contrafforti al gran fondamento del Mauso d'elio Adriano) by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

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The Castel Sant'Angelo was originally the mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and is situated on the bank of the Tiber in the heart of Rome. Piranesi has created imaginary foundations, which in reality would be beneath the river. As a child he observed the construction and maintenance of the sea walls in his native Venice, under the supervision of his uncle, the hydraulics engineer Matteo Lucchesi. Piranesi worked in the theatre in his youth, and many of his grand architectural works draw on theatrical devices. Here the composition is based on a device called the scena per angolo, which dramatises the scale of the structure. Not only does it seem to loom above the spectator, but the ant-like figures on the buttressed masonry are barely visible against the sky. Piranesi was a most prolific printmaker, etching almost 1000 plates, and sometimes printing as many as 4000 impressions of a single image. His technique of using deeply-bitten parallel lines with sturdy ridges of metal in between, meant his plates maintained a clarity of line often lost in other artists' work. His life was devoted to glorifying the grandeur of Rome, both ancient and contemporary, creating a fusion of time, place and the imagination. (from The Guide, 2001)

Title
Veduta del sotterraneo Fondamento del Mausoleo, che fu eretto da Elio Adriano Imp ... (View of the subterranean foundatins of the Mausoleum built by the Emperor Hadrian ...) Vertical section of the buttresses of Hadrian's mausoleum (Spaccato degli Speroni, i quali servono de contrafforti al gran fondamento del Mauso d'elio Adriano)
Artist/creator
Production date
1756
Medium
etching
Dimensions
700 x 450 mm
Inscription
Piranesi Archit. Dis. Et Inc. (below image l.r.)
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Dr Walter Auburn, 1982
Accession no
M1982/1/4/35
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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