first paris edition, 2 volumes, large folio (814 x 545mm.), etched title, folding plan of Rome (Pianta di Rome e del Campo Marzio) on 3 sheets, joined and folding, frontispiece in volume 2, and 132 (of 135) views, near uniform twentieth-century half calf by H.E. Hobbs of Brighton (with his purple ink stamp on preliminary pastedown of each volume), flat spines lettered in gilt, lacking 3 plates (Hind nos. 62, 63 and 121), plates a little creased, plate 114 with small stain and puncture, occasional light spotting (mostly marginal), plates 16 and 26 with marginal tears (not affecting image), bindings slightly worn
Hind, A.M., Giovannia Battista Piranesi: a critical study (London, 1922); cf. Focillon 719-853
a near complete set of these much-admired prints of rome and its vicinity, which contributed considerably both to contemporary interest in classical archaeology and to the growth of the neoclassical movement in art and architecture.
Born in Venice in 1720, G.B. Piranesi went to Rome in 1740 as a draftsman for the Venetian ambassador. He studied with leading printmakers of the day and settled permanently in Rome in 1745. It was during this period that he developed his highly original etching technique, producing rich textures and bold contrasts of light and shadow by means of intricate, repeated bitings of the copperplate. His unparalled accuracy of depiction, his personal expression of the dramatic and romantic grandeur of ancient Rome, and his technical mastery make his works some of the most original and impressive representations of architecture to be found in Western art. After Giovanni Battista's death in 1778, his son Francesco, who had trained and worked with his father took the plates to Paris, where he republished them.
The plates in this copy are arranged by subject and bound as per Hind (pp.35-37); they are in Hind's state D and watermarked (where visible) to a design similar to Hind 7.
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