- Museum number
Object: Title page: Raccolta di 50. Vedute Antiche, e Moderne
Series: Raccolta di 50. Vedute Antiche e Moderne della città di Rome e sue vicinanze
Title plate to series with title and supplementary publication details. Representation of Minerva, Romulus and she-wolf, and personification of the River Tiber. Etching
- Production date
- 1815-1830 (c.)
Height: 149 millimetres
Width: 189 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Title page to a bound series of 49 etchings published by Piale, Rome. See 1947,0319.6.1-49 for entire set. See also 1926,0521.12.1-50 and 1915,1211.2.1-55 for two further editions of this series
As the title suggests, this bound volume consists of vedute of various areas of Rome, including churches, temples and ancient Roman ruins – this series comprises 50 plates, including a title-plate. The volume numbers among the multiple series of ‘Views of Rome’ published in the eighteenth and nineteenth century (for similar volumes in the BM see 1923,0209.1.1-90 & 1892,0804.6.1-50).
This volume was published by Piale, ‘Negoziante di Stampe e Carta’, which, as the title-plate and lettering on the majority of the plates in the series states, had a shop at S. Carlo al Corso No.428 and Piazza di Spagna No.1 (see 1947,0319.6.6). On the ‘Colonna Antonina in Piazza Colonna’ (1947,0319.6.30) the publishing detail refers to ‘Pietro’ Piale. Piale operated as both a ‘libraro’ and a publisher, sometimes publishing volumes in collaboration with Mariano de Romanis. Pietro Piale also appears to have had vendor rights to various texts by his relative, Stefano Piale (including ‘Del tempio volgarmente detto di Vesta…’, 1817) and an edition of Ridolfino Venuti’s ‘Accurata e succincta descrizione topografica della antichita di Roma’ (first published 1763) which Piale published in 1824.
The title-page is undated and therefore the year of publication is uncertain. However, the inclusion of a plate etched by Pietro Parboni with the date of ‘1816’ provides a publication terminus post-quem (1947,0319.6.25). Further editions of the series, with variations on the title ‘Nuova Raccolta delle piu interessanti vedute di Roma….’ and differing vignettes on the title-plate, were published by Piale circa 1816 and in 1819. An inscription dated '1818' on the title-page of the series 1915.0211.2.1-51 provides a terminus ante-quem for the production of the vast majority of the plates included within this particular volume.
The title-plate states that the prints are ‘incise da Piranesi, Morelli, Pronti, ed altri Celebri Bullini’. Lettering on the plate themselves reveals the inclusion of work by artists including: Paolo Barbazza, Giovanni Bruni, Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Domenico Cunego, Lodovivo Ferreti, Pietro Parboni, Pietro Ruga and Antonio Testa. The conflation of etchings by multiple artists in a single volume was a common publishing practice for series of Roman views.This particular volume comprises a combination of etchings which rely on pre-existing compositions and re-worked and re-issued plates produced decades earlier.
A number of the etchings demonstrate a reliance on the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. With the plates etched by Francesco Piranesi, the heir to his father’s plates, these tend to be, sometimes reduced, copies with minor changes (see 1947,0319.6.11; 1947.0319.6.16; 1947,0319.6.17). Significantly, these rarely reference Giovanni Battista Piranesi as the original designer. Other etchings in the series, both anonymous and by artists including Giovanni Battista Cipriani, are undoubtedly derived from compositions by G.B. Piranesi.
Therefore, of note is the ‘Veduta del Piazza del Popolo’ (1947,0319.6.43), etched by Pietro Ruga (1772-1825). While the composition is arguably based on an (anonymous) etching first published in the ‘Varie Vedute di Roma’ (see 1923,0209.1.47), lettering on Ruga’s plate credits Giovanni Battista Piranesi as the designer. Thus, while Piranesi published a signed view of the Piazza del Popolo (see 1914,0406.55), the composition in the 'Varie Vedute' is closer to Ruga's etching. The inclusion of Piranesi’s name on Ruga's plate indicates both a conscious and conspicuous reference to the work of Piranesi.
Further etchings in the series are related to the plates published circa 1745 by Fausto Amidei in the ‘Varie Vedute di Roma’, and which ran through numerous editions. As Wilton-Ely has stated, plates from the ‘Varie Vedute’ passed through the presses of numerous Roman publishers (Wilton-Ely, p.90). It appears that Piale was in possession of at least two plates from the series- Piranesi’s ‘Circo di Caracalla’ (1947,0319.6.22) and Duflos’s ‘Colonna Traiana’ (1947,0319.6.29 ), which was re-etched in places prior to its re-issue. A number of etchings in Piale’s series are also copied after Duflos’s etchings (see 1947,0319.6.10; 1947,0319.6.12; 1947,0319.6.15).
Piale’s volume is undoubtedly a composite of plates acquired from earlier series, demonstrating how plates often changed owners. Lettering in the upper left margin of Piranesi’s aforementioned ‘Circo di Caracalla’ corresponds to the page numbering system utilised in Venuti’s ‘Antichita di Roma’, the plates of which Piale was in possession of in 1824. Domenico Pronti’s ‘S. Paolo’ (1947,0319.6.7) and ‘Arco di Tito’ (1947,0319.6.23) were etched between 1779 to 1780 and were likely also published by Piale in another distinct volume prior to their inclusion in this series.
Wilton-Ely (Giovanni Battista Piranesi: The Complete Etchings, Vol. I, (San Francisco, 1994)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number