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, Subjects, and ThemesBibliographyGlossary
View of the Temple of Cybele
12020-02-20T06:55:31-08:00Avery Freemanb9edcb567e2471c9ec37caa50383522b90999cba228491from Volume 16 of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Opereplain2020-02-20T06:55:31-08:00Internet Archivepiranesi-ia-vol16-059.jpgimageAvery Freemanb9edcb567e2471c9ec37caa50383522b90999cba
12019-02-15T17:06:21-08:00View of the Temple of Cybele in the Piazza of the Bocca della Verità20Veduta del Tempio di Cibele a Piazza della Bocca della Verità. Il tempio della Dea Cibele di forma rotonda, del quale se ne vede ancora l’avanzo, era circondato da un nobilissimo Portico, sostenuto da numerose Colonne scanellate co’loro Capitelli, cadaun de’quali è fregiato col frutto della Pina, una tralle Divise della Deità, a cui era consacrato il Tempio. Furono levati ad esso Portico i marmi del Fregio, ed Architrave, e fabbricatovi il muro tra una Colonna, e l’altra fu ridotto ad uso di Chiesa, dedicata a Santa Maria del Sole.plain2023-06-20T12:03:08-07:00Title: Veduta del Tempio di Cibele a Piazza della Bocca della Verità Key: Il tempio della Dea Cibele di forma rotonda, del quale se ne vede ancora l’avanzo, era circondato da un nobilissimo Portico, sostenuto da numerose Colonne scanellate co’loro Capitelli, cadaun de’quali è fregiato col frutto della Pina, una tralle Divise della Deità, a cui era consacrato il Tempio. Furono levati ad esso Portico i marmi del Fregio, ed Architrave, e frabbricatovi il muro tra una Colonna, e l’altra fu ridotto ad uso di Chiesa, dedicata a Santa Maria del Sole. 1 Colonne del Portico rimaste co’loro Capitelli. 2 Muro moderno. 3 Il Tevere. 4 Avanzi delle antiche Saline, ed altri a questi sopraposti del Tempio di Diana. 5 Monastero di Sant' Alessio. 6 Il Priorato di Malta Signature: Piranesi Archit(etto). dis(egnò). ed incise Signature 2: Presso l’Autore a Strada Felice vicino alla Trinità de’Monti.Title: View of the Temple of the Cybele in the Piazza of the Bocca della Verità. The temple of the Goddess Cybele, of which one can still see the remains, is round in form, and it was encircled by a most noble Portico. It was sustained by numerous fluted Columns and their capitals, each one of which is adorned with pinecones, , one of which has the attributes of the Deity to whom the Temple was consecrated. Removed from this portico was a Marble Frieze, and Architrave, and built there was a wall in between a Column, and another which was adapted for the Church dedicated to Santa Maria del Sole. Key: 1. Remaining Columns of the Portico with their Capitals. 2. Modern wall. 3. The Tiber. 4. Ruins of the ancient salt mines, and other ruins superimposed onto the Temple of Diana. 5. Monastery of Sant’Alessio. 6. Order of Malta Signature: Designed and engraved by the Architect Piranesi. Signature 2: Published by the Author on the Strada Felice near the Trinità de’ Monti.Known since the nineteenth century as the Temple of Hercules Victor, this round Greek temple, or tholos, had also been attributed to Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family. Its notable shape, as the only round temple in the Forum, led to this attribution. In the previous view, Piranesi includes it in the background and calls it “Tempio di Cibele, o come altri d’Ercole,” and in the following view, he identifies it as the Temple of Vesta. Here, the mystery of its attribution, which has not been conclusively resolved, recedes behind the composition’s focus on contemporary daily life. Laundry hangs to dry in the sun, a group of people including tourists and children converse, wooden wheels lean haphazardly against the temple, and a large cart is parked so that its owner can make use of the fountain. In the heavily-shaded foreground, men sit on architectural rubble. This shading stands in sharp contrast to the sunlit distance, where dwellings crowd around the Tiber, marked by an almost indistinguishable annotation (3). Other annotations mark out the temple’s restored columns (1) but otherwise emphasize its surroundings (2-6). The lengthy caption, though, which is not keyed to any specific feature in the image, takes readers into the past by detailing the temple’s original features and their reuse. It was once, Piranesi tells us, encircled by a most noble portico that was supported by numerous fluted columns which were decorated with pinecones; the marble of the frieze and architrave were removed, and one column was adapted to the use of a church dedicated to Santa Maria del Sole.
Throughout the Vedute di Roma, Piranesi’s combinations of image and text offer his audience different points of entry: we are of course invited to look first, but we are also urged to read, either by proceeding from an image’s annotations to its key or from the title, caption, and key to the image. Here, the caption provides historical details, while the annotations, like the visual composition, firmly situate the temple within contemporary life. In this image, Piranesi represents knowledge graphically by using visual composition and verbal annotation—in caption and key—to make the historical layers of Rome legible to his audience. Reading the annotations as they are embedded within the image, Piranesi’s audience experiences the temple in its current moment and lived presence, but reading the caption, which stands separate from the image, we gain historical knowledge about what is now lost. Committed to conveying both historical information and contemporary detail, Piranesi here maintains their difference in his distinction between caption and annotation. (JB)
To see this image in the Vedute di Roma, volume 16 of Piranesi’s Opere, click here.