The Digital Piranesi
This page was created by Diem Dao. The last update was by Jeanne Britton.
Interior View of the Colosseum (2 of 2)
Perhaps the most salient stylistic difference in this view is the prominence of Francesco’s human figures. As opposed to the indistinct, gnarled, and often stooped human figures in Giovanni’s works, the men in the foreground of this view are clearly drawn, with discernable facial features, coat buttons, and boot buckles. Their conversation seems to take place in a pastoral setting, complete with remarkably distinct vegetation. Among Giovanni’s views of the Colosseum, his depiction of the ruined, overgrown interior has the most in common with this image, which also positions a large, irregular, ruined mass teeming with vegetation in the foreground. By contrast, Giovanni’s depictions of the Colosseum’s exterior and an impossible aerial view stress regularity and symmetry, with the amphitheater’s mid-point at the center of the page in each case. Francesco’s key, as well as the architectural fragments that surround it, is darkened by worn cross-hatching, a technique Giovanni used sparingly precisely because it could cause pools of ink to appear in late pressings of plates that had been worn by heavy use. Taken together, this view’s large human figures and the content of the key’s single annotation emphasize the human experience of the Colosseum. The key, rather than pointing out the architectural features that Giovanni’s annotations to other views specify, notes that this view was taken from the Colosseum’s third level, informing viewers about the position from which the Colosseum is seen, not the features that are seen. The inclusion of this image here follows the Opere’s groupings of the Vedute di Roma according to subject matter rather than chronology and attests to the significant role that Francesco played in the early afterlife of his father’s works. (JB)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 17 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.