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 Port of Ripa Grande
12020-02-20T06:55:32-08:00Avery Freemanb9edcb567e2471c9ec37caa50383522b90999cba228491from Volume 16 of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Opereplain2020-02-20T06:55:32-08:00Internet Archivepiranesi-ia-vol16-052.jpgimageAvery Freemanb9edcb567e2471c9ec37caa50383522b90999cba
12019-02-15T15:59:03-08:00View of the Port of Ripa Grande15Veduta del Porto di Ripa Grandeplain2022-07-14T13:51:30-07:00Title: Veduta del Porto di Ripa Grande Key: Dogana grande. 2. Dogana del passo. 3. Arsenale. 4. Granari dell’Annona. 5. Ospizio Apostolico di San Michele, e Casa degl’Invalidi, e di educazione nelle arti e correzione de’ Fanciulli, e di condanna delle Donne delinquenti. 6. Avanzi di una delle pile dell’antico Ponte Sublicio, già di Legno, e rifatto poscia di pietra da Emilio, e ristorato dai Cesari. 7. Avanzi delle Saline antiche. 8. Avanzi di muri de’ tempi bassi, falsamente supposti del detto Ponte Sublicio. Signature: G(iovanni).B(attista). Piranesi Architetto fec(it). Signature 2: Presso l’Autore a Strada Felice nel palazzo Tomati vicino alla Trinità de’montiTitle: View of the Port of Ripa Grande Key: 1. Main Customs office of the Port. 2. Customs office of the river pass. 3. Arsenal. 4. Granaries of the Silo. 5. Hospital of St. Michael, and House for Invalids, and Education in the Arts and Corrections for Children, and of punishment for delinquent Women. 6. Ruins of one of the piers of the ancient Ponte Sublicio, formerly made of wood, and later reconstructed of stone by Emilius, and restored by the Emperors. 7. Ruins of the ancient salt mines. 8. Ruins of the walls built in the low times, falsely presumed to belong to the aforementioned Ponte Sublicio. Signature: Made by the Architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Signature 2: Published by the Author on the Strada Felice in Palazzo Tomati near Trinità de Monti.Following the previous view of the Porto di Ripetta, this image, also produced in 1753, moves to the other side of the Tiber and provides a different angle on the issues of order and disorder that image suggests. This is a more structured composition, with a distinct vanishing point and two clear diagonal lines, made by the roof on the right and the foliage on the left, that spatially contain the ship masts and organic growth that are dramatically etched in deep shadow. Despite this general pattern and its suggestion of containment, each side of the river is a busy jumble of people, ships, and, as Piranesi points out, ruins. The two columns of annotations below the image, which appear in many of his views of Rome, here parallel the banks of the river and the division of the composition. The eighth and final note identifies building remnants that would almost certainly be overlooked in the heavy shading and activity of the left foreground: ruins of medieval walls falsely supposed of the ancient Ponte Sublicio or Pons Sublicius, a wooden bridge that was repeatedly rebuilt in antiquity. The sixth annotation points out actual remains of this bridge.
On the right is the Ospizio di San Michele, or Hospital of Saint Michael, which served many purposes. As Piranesi details in a long annotation, it was a house for invalids and an educational and correctional institution for children, convicts, and “Donne delinquenti.” Such Enlightenment-era institutions are today often understood as agents of oppression more than recuperation. Piranesi’s composition here embodies the conflict between order, whether it be visual, civic, religious, or moral, and disorder, whether it be visual, natural, or human. While this image seems to forge a tenuous balance between the dramatic chaos of the river and the order of visual composition and civic authority, it is worth noting an episode from later in his life that resonates with the visual tensions and verbal detail of this image. Robert Adam reported in 1762, a decade after this image, that Piranesi was “distressed with the irregular conduct of his wife, who, as we say in Scotland, has been too great with another man and so he has put her in a convent for her amusement” (cited in Fleming 374). Piranesi’s composition visually and verbally underscores the effort to contain of disorder that was, in many ways, characteristic of his work and perhaps his life. (JB)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 16 of Piranesi’sOpere, click here.