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Piranesi, Giovanni Battista



Romae 1761. Folio. 2 engraved title leaves (Latin and Italian titles) + one leaf with dedication + portrait of Pope Clement XIII engraved by D. Cunego after Piranesi + 212 pp. (including four engraved initials and tail-pieces) + 38 engraved plates (12 folding including 8 double-plates and 4 quadruple-plates). With the supplement: OSSERVAZIONI SOPRA LA LETTRE DE M. MARIETTE ... Roma 1765. Folio. Engraved title leaf + 24 pp. (including six engraved head- and tail-pieces) + 3 engraved plates (the first lettered Essais de differentes Frises...) Six additional unnumbered plates not present in this copy). Fine later half brown morocco. An excellent copy with the plates in early, sharp and vigorous imprints.

As the champion of Roman originality and primacy in design against the fashionable hellenism of the mid-eighteenth century, Piranesi imbued his work with a fervent didactic and polemic purpose. Styling himself "Architetto Veneziano" his concern was enduringly with the science and magnificence of ancient Roman building, but he brought to his depictions of it a Venetian consciousness of the variety and expressiveness of light, and an appetite for the rococo sharpened by the capricci of Tiepolo. In Della Magnificenza ed Architettura de Romani he claimed the superiority of Etruscan arts to that of the Greek, arguing that the Etruscans were the original instructors of the Roman, his point brought home with lovingly elaborate illustrations of imaginative and varied Roman ornament. In the supplement, the Osservazioni, he refutes the theories of the French critic Mariette who in 1764 attacked Piranesi's theories about the Etruscans.

 146,472 NOK 

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