Piranesi includes a portion of a similar view in one of his most complex layered images, a study of Roman architectural details compared with Greek examples from Julien-David Le Roy. In this image, from Della Magnificenza ed Architettura de’ Romani, he includes numerous examples of Roman architectural detail, noting the locations of each; he indicates that this monument is in the area outside of Rome known as the Caffarella (today the Caffarella Park), which lies beyond the Porta Latina and is bordered by the Appian Way.
He calls particular attention to the monument’s columns and especially its window, which he shows in a small veduta (detail 1) and in orthographic projection (detail 2). His visual argument in the image from Della Magnificenza, and in that work as a whole, is that Roman architecture displays its own splendor apart from any Greek influence. This chosen example is has Greek affiliations, though, as the tomb of Appia Annia Regilla, the Roman wife of the prominent Greek Herodes Atticus, and with the traditional Greek fretwork along the façade. His emphasis on its other details illuminates their grand ornamentation (detail 3). Heather Hyde Minor has observed that this image from Della Magnificenza engages in a practice of visual citation by isolating specific individual architectural details and pointing viewers to their locations (2015, 125). By contrast, in this view of 1773, Piranesi emphasizes situation over citation, favoring dramatic shading, natural overgrowth, and the texture of gradual decay over his aesthetic battle against Le Roy from the previous decade. (JB)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 16 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.