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View of the Roman Forum (1 of 2)
Veduta di Campo Vaccino
Title: Veduta di Campo Vaccino. Key: 1. Vestigie del Tempio di Giove Tonante 2. Vestigi del Tempio della Concordia 3. Arco di Settimio Severo 4. Antico Errario oggi Sant' Adriano 5. Tempio d’Antonino, e Faustina 6. Tempio di Romolo, e Remo, ora Santi Cosmo, e Damiano 7. Santa Francesca Romana 8. Arco di Tito 9 Vestigie del Palazzo de’ Cesari nel Palatino 10 Colonne del Tempio di Giove Statore 11 Muraglioni dei Rostri 12 Avanzi del Tablino della Casa aurea di Nerone 13 Colosseo 14 Avanzo di due Triclinj della detta Casa aurea 15 Vestigie delle Terme di Tito. Signature: Presso l’Autore a Strada Felice nel palazzo Tomati vicino alla Trinità de’ monti Signature 2: Piranesi del(ineavit). scolp(sit).
Title: View of the Roman Forum. Key: 1. Ruins of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans. 2. Ruins of the Temple of Concord 3. Arch of Septimius Severus 4. Ancient Treasury, now called the church of Sant’Adriano 5. Temple of Antoninus and Faustina 6. Temple of Romulus, and Remus, now of the Saints Cosmas and Damian 7. Santa Francesca Romana 8. Arch of Titus 9. Ruins of Caesar’s Palace in the Palatine 10. Columns of the Temple of Jupiter Stator 11. The Walls of the Rostrum 12. Ruins of the Dining Room in the Golden House of Nero 13. Colosseum 14. Ruin of the two dining rooms of the aforementioned Golden House 15. Ruins of the Baths of Titus Signature: Published by the Author on the Strada Felice in Palazzo Tomati near Trinità de Monti. Signature 2: Drawn and engraved by Piranesi.
The Forum was and continues to be among the best-preserved sites of ancient Rome. Ruins of triumphal arches, temples, and theaters revealed the city’s multi-layered history, from its origins as the center of Roman politics, through its use as a medieval cattle market (referred to in Piranesi’s title, “Campo Vaccino”), to the site of papal processions and the hub of tourism that it is today. The first of three views of the Forum provides a panorama of the entire site, and it functions as a tourist map. Piranesi labels the must-see landmarks on the Grand Tour itinerary. The print served not only as a map for the site but also as an advertisement for Piranesi’s works. The monuments labeled in the image and in the key were among the first that Piranesi depicted individually in the Views of Rome series (Bevilacqua 53-60), and they initiated his career in the veduta genre. By pointing to these particular monuments, this view forms the visual counterpart to Piranesi’s print catalog.
The business generated by the Grand Tour is further highlighted by the prevalence of ciceroni or guides, who gesture theatrically towards the ancient ruins. On the right, two dilettantes stand atop a fragment—which cannot be distinguished as natural or man-made—and point to the Forum below. The placement of the characters in the foreground accentuates the juxtaposition between neglected ancient fragments around them and the grandeur of the ancient past displayed in the background. While Piranesi’s contemporaries tended to portray the Forum in an idyllic manner, he emphasizes its broken, crumbling, and overgrown ruins. Beyond its functions as a tourist map or a commerical advertisement, this veduta also performs the deictic features that are inherent in ruins themselves, as indications of what is lost (Ferri 98). Perhaps in this vein, almost half of the 15 sites identified in the key are specified as “vestigie” or “avanzi” of monuments. The interrupted arches and broken columns could be considered a symbol of irrevocable loss, a prompt to ruminate on the idea of the ruin and the histories it embodied, yet for Piranesi, they invoked a sense of permanence—the vestiges, the remains—that resisted the ravages of time. (ZL)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 17 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.