Though the arches themselves are labeled, they are mostly obscured, having been superimposed by the two larger Renaissance porticoes (as seen above). The only clearly identifiable ancient structure, and the only structure rendered with light, is the Temple of Nerva on the far left of the composition. However, only its Corinthian capitals and broken architrave are visible. Perhaps both the visual and verbal caesura formed by the wall and cornice call attention to the 'legible' limits of antiquity through its incomplete and hidden "remains" (Wendort, 162). Yet Piranesi seems to suggest that through close observation, portrayed and documented with ink on paper, the fragments of ancient Rome can be partially preserved and seen, if not read. (ZL)
To see this image in Vedute di Roma, vol 17 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.