Title page to Piranesi's 'Della magnificenza ed architettura de' romane'
Dedication portrait to Piranesi's Della magnificenza ed architettura de' romane
First page of Piranesi's major contribution to the debate over Greek versus Roman architecture
Piranesi contrasts the magnificence of Rome with, in his opinion, anemic Greece
Piranesi presents columns of various classical buildings in a double-page spread
Piranesi's exquisitely detailed documentation of two Roman column bases
Piranesi's interpretation of an Etruscan temple, as described by Vitruvius
Piranesi's Della magnificenza de architettura de' Romani
Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s importance lies not in the few buildings he designed, but in his published works.
His large format copper engravings and etchings depicting the archaeological remains of ancient Rome in dramatic splendor changed the course of architecture of his own time, and still influence our perception of Rome today.
In the 1750s and 1760s, Piranesi produced several series of 'views' and archaeological representations of various buildings, ruins, and areas of Rome (Vedute di Roma, Antichita romane, Della magnificenza de architettura de’ Romani). These prints, both individually and bound in books, were bought and studied by architects and artists throughout Europe.
Piranesi created Della magnificenza de architettura de' Romani hoping to inspire others to use ancient Roman ideas and forms to create a new style of architecture. He also used this work to promote his belief that Roman architecture owed its roots to the Etruscans rather than the Greeks.