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"St Paul’s Basilica Engraving. (Mogliano 1720–1778 Rome) “Spaccato interno della Basicilia di S. Paolo fuori delle mura”, 1749, etching on laid paper, signed Piranesi fecit in the plate, 41,2 x 60 cm, with broad margins along platemarks. One of the most important Italian printmakers of the 18th century, Giovanni Battista Piranesi concentrated on rendering ancient, modern, and even imaginary buildings. Born on the terra ferma near Venice, he was trained as an architect but rarely practiced; only one late church survives. At the age of twenty, he traveled to Rome in the company of the Venetian ambassador, and during his first three years in the city he learned etching and engraving. The city captivated his imagination, and he settled there permanently in 1747. His first imaginary works, the Carceri d’invenzione, which incorporated Roman architectural ideas into fantastic settings, date from 1745, when he was still in Venice, and prepared his way in the Roman printmaking world.
In Rome, Piranesi became obsessed with depicting both the ancient and modern city, devoting himself to careful measurement before creating his monumental views. These two belong to the Vedute di Roma series begun in the late 1740s. The interior of the basilica of Saint Paul outside the walls shows its frescoes, papal portraits, and imperial Roman marble columns before their destruction by fire in 1823. The artist’s attention to architectural proportion and detail engage the viewer as a participant in the scene alongside beggars, dogs, and groups of noble men and women.
Very Good - some foxing to paper, see pictures
25.5” x 18.5” (Width x Height)