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Le Vedute di Roma

Le Vedute di Roma

Giovanni Battista Piranesi was one of the leading figures in the development of the neoclassical style in the 18th century. His Vedute di Roma depicted the great buildings of Rome, from ancient times and the Renaissance to the mid 18th century, when many were in ruins. Their lasting popularity is due not only to the picturesque subject matter but Piranesi’s consummate artistry, command of perspective, subtle tonality, and imaginative flair. The Vedute are the largest and best known series of the prints Piranesi produced, comprising 135 plates by him and two by his son Francesco Piranesi. Piranesi scholar John Wilton-Ely describes the Vedute as follows: The 135 plates of the Vedute di Roma, produced individually by Piranesi from the late 1740s until his death some thirty years later, represent almost every phase in his stylistic evolution and reflect his changing intellectual concerns
 Through these particular works, which were spread all over the Continent by means of the Grand Tour, Piranesi was not only to revolutionize the convention form of the veduta but was to transform the European vision of classical antiquity. (176) Determining the date of printing of etchings from the Vedute is complicated for many reasons. They were published in sets as well separately issued, various states of the prints were published in the 18th century, and the various other states and posthumous editions were printed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Historian and print expert Arthur M. Hind wrote the definitive reference book on Piranesi’s views in 1922, Giovanni Battista Piranesi: A Critical Study, in which he painstakingly distinguished various states and editions, primarily in the 18th century.

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