Piranesi’s view of this high Renaissance palace closely resembles that of his teacher-turned rival, Giuseppe Vasi (resembles a military exchange” (Campbell, 563). In 1747, Vasi’s Delle Magnificenze di Roma Antica e Moderna included the view below.Through various connections, Vasi was able to join other residents there, setting up his printing press in an apartment on the palace’s rear side in 1748 and 1749 (Minor 2001). Differences between their views of the same monuments often demonstrate, particularly through Piranesi’s etching of rough, ruined surfaces, his belief in ancient Rome’s magnificence (see, for example, his and Vasi’s views of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina). In Piranesi’s image above, resemblances to and departures from Vasi’s view demonstrate his command of etching techniques even within the confines of what are essentially the same composition and vantage point. Piranesi worked on much larger copper plates, which allowed him to expand the range of detail and variety of etching techniques. he expands the palace’s height, darkens its façade, and more densely populates the piazza. He meticulously etches the façade’s individual bricks, while Vasi renders a largely blank, white surface, marked only by successions of vertical lines. Piranesi ably conveys the past power of the noble family and the lasting architectural significance of the palace while imposing the force of his etching needle over Vasi’s small and smooth views.
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 16 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.