The Digital Piranesi
This page was created by Alexis Kratzer. The last update was by Jeanne Britton.
View of the Piazza d’Oro in Hadrian's Villa
If the diagonal of the structures draws the viewer’s eye towards the horizon, the second diagonal of the human beings, especially at its origin in the foreground, impedes a viewer’s imaginative entry into the image. The three gestures, all pointing in the same direction, nevertheless direct a viewer’s eye towards the ruins. The structure’s modern name, as specified in the engraving’s title, marks a linguistic gap that adds to the sense of historical distance and physical decay. Perhaps this image’s conflicting visual guides—the diagonal lines, the gesturing figures—point towards the inaccessibility of the luxury and glory associated with ruins that, even though they can be observed and documented, remain out of reach. (JB)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 17 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.