The Digital Piranesi

Second Part of Collected Antiquities, including the Pantheon

This volume, by Giovanni’s son Francesco, is dedicated to the representation of the Pantheon and contains numerous plans, cross-sections, and reconstructions of the temple’s architecture. The “famous Pantheon [celebre Pantheon]” is highlighted in the title page with its own line. So too is Francesco’s name, printed in all capitals below, where he asserts his authorship as well as his profession as a “Roman architect.”

The first print in the Seconda parte is, however, actually by Giovanni. It is also the first view of the Pantheon in the second volume of the Vedute di Roma. The design of the engravings in the Seconda parte have been recently attributed to Giovanni (Dixon 2004, 65). The arguments presented in the text and the reconstruction of the Pantheon, devoid of modern additions like in the Campus Martius, seem to indicate Giovanni’s hand in the main design and content of the work. Giovanni had in fact planned to author an entire volume on the Pantheon, but it was never published (Yerkes, Dixon 2004). Perhaps these prints engraved by Francesco are based on these drawings.

Strategically pairing these views of the Pantheon links not only the two artists but also the two volumes (Seconda parte and Vedute di Roma), perhaps in order to make them more commercially appealing for collectors or buyers. In the Opere, the Views of Rome were conceived as a part of a complete collection. In other words, they are appealing to audiences as a collectable set (Yerkes & Minor, 177-199) by virtue of its completeness across volumes rather than as the individual prints that were initially marketed to grand tourists. The arrangement of the Opere suggests aspects of the commercial reception of Piranesi’s works in the nineteenth century.

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