The Digital PiranesiMain MenuAboutThe Digital Piranesi is a developing digital humanities project that aims to provide an enhanced digital edition of the works of Italian illustrator Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778).Works and VolumesGenres and SubjectsBibliographyGlossary and Abbreviations
View of the Arch (in the city) of Benevento in the Kingdom of Naples
12019-05-29T13:28:18-07:00Aniruth Sivakumara921b78c454763598f1523de5631457adad031a12284921Veduta dell'Arco di Benevento nel Regno di Napoliplain2022-01-04T01:46:25-08:00Title: VEDVTA DELL’ARCO DI BENEVENTO NEL REGNO DI NAPOLI Signature: C(avalier). Piranesi fece.Title: View of the Arch (in the city of) Benevento in the Kingdom in Naples Signature: Made by the Knight Piranesi.Zoe Langeref2dd00d773765a8b071cbe9e59fc8bf7c7da399Printed shortly before Piranesi's death, this engraving comprises one of the artist's latest etchings in the Vedute di Roma and exemplifies Piranesi’s approach to the representation of triumphal architecture.Benevento is close to Naples. Piranesi may have produced the print on his way to Paestum, an ancient Greek colony in southern Italy, where he started work on the last series of his career: Different Views of Some of the Remains of Three Great Edifices of the Ancient City of Paestum [Differentes vues de quelques restes de trois grands édifices...de l'ancienne ville de Pesto] (1778). One of few views set outside Rome, this depiction of the Arch of Benevento (Arch of Trajan) incorporates stylistic elements characteristic of both the veduta genre and Piranesi’s mature style. For example, through the manipulation of perspective, the narrow foreground pushes the Arch to the outermost edges of the plate, elongating the scale of the monument to emphasize the grandeur of Roman architecture (Verschaffel 126). The massive blocks of stone are depicted in textured shadow that brings out the specific architectural and decorative elements of the façade, while the contemporary street scene on the right recedes into the background through a steep diagonal axis. In the foreground, various actors, crumbling piles of ruins, and the horse-drawn carriage situate the Arch of Trajan in the bustle of eighteenth-century street life. Piranesi’s emphasis on the modelling of the friezes, fluted Corinthian columns, and protruding architraves exhibits the monumentality of the Arch, and perhaps demonstrates the extensive reach of the Roman Empire under Trajan, whose imperial campaigns are memorialized in the bas-reliefs Piranesi artfully reveals through chiaroscuro. The fact that this is a later work in Piranesi’s œuvre is reflected not only in its style but also in its position within eighteenth-century collections. This view is often the last work to appear in collections of the Vedute di Roma, both in Italy and abroad (Hind 6, I.135). Though Piranesi’s original ordering of the Vedute di Roma is largely unknown (Bevilacqua 55), eighteenth-century collections tend to arrange Piranesi's etchings chronologically and by series. This seems not to be the case in later editions of Piranesi’s works, such as Firmin Didot’s Opere, which instead arranges the seriesaccording to type and geography rather than chronology. Formal, organizational, and perhaps conceptual differences in each edition or collection (both private or public) invite further consideration of the interventions of later authors—publishers, editors, artists, translators, and collectors—in the transmission and reception of Piranesi’s works. (ZL)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 17 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.
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1media/Picture2.jpgmedia/17 Frontispiece cropped.jpg2018-10-19T10:30:22-07:00Jeanne Brittone120651dde677d5cf1fd515358b14d86eb289f11Views of Rome (2 of 2)Jeanne Britton40Vedute di Romaimage_header2022-03-05T13:06:46-08:00Jeanne Brittone120651dde677d5cf1fd515358b14d86eb289f11