Piranesi’s Important Map of Rome, - Including the Campus Martius

Piranesi, Giovanni Battista (1720-1778)

Pianta di Roma e del Campo Marzo

1774 [N.P, N.D.] ca.

$12,500.00

Large map: etching, engraving, and drypoint on three attached sheets of heavy laid paper. Image size (from plate mark): 121.2 x 71.1 cm. Sheet size: 132.1 x 82.1 cm.

FIRST EDITION.

This copy is in excellent condition with no staining or discoloration where the three sheets are joined.

Piranesi’s map extends the area covered by the Nolli plan as far north as the Ponte Milvio. Piranesi has made the important innovation of identifying 402 archaeologically important sites, keyed to his own works on ancient Rome.

"By the mid-1770's, at the height of his career, Piranesi had produced a comprehensive record of ancient and modern Rome in the form of the well over a hundred plates of the ‘Vedute di Roma’. He may have felt the need for a reference map to accompany collections of these plates and devised this work, usually found in associations with the ‘Vedute’, to fill this need. Exercising his skills in presenting formidable quantities of information coherently, he sought to relate the surviving remains of antiquity to the contemporary topography of Rome and to offer a way to reference published information about them. He therefore produced a large map of the modern city within the Aurelian Walls, together with an extension showing the territory to the north, between Porto del Popolo and Ponte Milvio and including the Campus Martius area. This is augmented by a smaller map isolating the principal antiquities, which were marked with numbers corresponding to those in the larger map. Around these Piranesi arranged a detailed index listing the monuments according to their assigned number and referring to relevant passages in his major publications, including the ‘Antichità Romane’, ‘Della Magnificenza’ and ‘Campo Marzio’.

“The dating of the map is problematic, since, although it is dedicated prominently to Clement XIV (1769-1774), Francesco Piranesi's 1792 catalogue assigns it to 1778 and most authorities, including Giesecke, Focillon and Hind, have accepted a late, if not posthumous date; however, this dating is certainly based on error, since Giambattista, in his Avvertimento at the top of the main map, refers to ‘l'approvazione che si è degnata mostrarne la Santità di N.ro Sig.re PAPA CLEMENTE XIV feliecmente regnate.’ Supporting evidence for an earlier date comes from an impression of the ‘Catalogo delle Opere’ referred to by Scott, which contains manuscript entries for the three ‘Vedute di Roma’ datable to 1774 and indicates that the map was already available.”(Wilton-Ely)

Focillon 600; Wilton-Ely II, 1008; Ficacci 700; Hind, p. 87, [1778-9.]