Another View of the Temple of the Sibyl in Tivoli (1 of 2)
He carefully differentiates, in verbal annotations and etching technique, between travertine, stucco, stone, and concrete. This “other view” does provide a better angle on the texture of building materials by bringing the viewer closer to the structure itself. In a similar way, the figures in the foreground are, compared to those in the first view in the Didot edition, also in close proximity to architectural substance, as they touch and lean on column fragments. In this view, the architectural rubble that often crowds the foreground, impeding a viewer’s imaginative entry into the image are an integral element of the image rather than an imaginative impediment, and they are signaled for their evidentiary importance. An annotation refers to remains scattered here and there—“avanzi sparsi quà e là”—from which it can be deduced that certain elements of the temple were made of travertine covered with stucco. This “other view” offers the perspective, perhaps, of the archaeologist rather than the tourist, or that of a frequent visitor to Tivoli, whose experience of antiquity combines the visual with the tactile while subsuming aesthetic grandeur within material proximity. (JB)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 17 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.