Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Antique ancient altar with surrounding ruins

Antique ancient altar with surrounding ruins by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Artwork Detail

The fields around Rome were littered with fragments of ancient ruins, and it was not uncommon for farmers to break through the roof of a buried tomb when ploughing their fields. At the time, collectors queued up to purchase the items removed after such a find, carrying off bronze and earthenware, as well as architectural fragments, before all that remained was destroyed by renewed cultivation. Rather than mere curiosity, Piranesi had a genuine antiquarian desire to record some of the main tombs before they vanished forever.

Antique ancient altar with surrounding ruins
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Production date
circa 1743
etching, four states with burin work
270 x 375 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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