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Monday 7 November 2016

Piranesi’s etching, “Aqueduct of the Acqua Claudia”, 1756

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78)
“Aqueduct of the Acqua Claudia” or “Avanzi degli archi che […] conducevano l’Acqua Claudia sul Palation” (View of the remains of the houses of the Caesars on the Palatine), 1756, from the series, “Le Antichità Romane”, Plate XXXIIII, figure II of the first volume, 1756

Etching on heavy wove paper with the Papal Calcografia Nazionale dry stamp (19th century edition) at lower-right corner.
Size: (sheet) 30.8 x 41.8 cm; (plate) 13.5 x 20.3 cm
Inscribed with title, numbered and with a key for identification; signed at lower right 'Piranesi Arch. dis. inc.'
Taschen 201; Focillon 210; Wilton-Ely 345

Condition: Superb and strong nineteenth century Papal Calcografia dry stamped impression in near pristine condition.

I am selling this small—compared to many of Piranesi’s huge prints—but absolutely magnificent etching by the great master, Piranesi, with all the hallmarks of his technical skill and grand vision for a total cost of AU$246 (currently US$188.83/EUR170.67/GBP152.05 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this posthumous but genuine Piranesi etching in virtually flawless condition, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Although most folk are familiar with the etchings of Piranesi and his grand vision of ancient Roman architecture—such as this superb example—what is seldom discussed are the interesting ways that he moulds his images so that the portrayed architecture seems more awe inspiring and visually intriguing than it probably is in reality.

For example, note how Piranesi uses strong theatrical lighting to ensure that the fundamental forms of the structures seem solid, simple and massive. Note also how Piranesi will insert lace-like plant at very calculated spots within the eroding pieces of architecture so that a viewer will be reminded of the ephemeral nature and futility of man’s handiwork.

In fact, there are so many interesting visual devices that Piranesi employs that I fully understand the spell—the Piranesi effect—that this great master has cast on today’s artists (see, for example, “The Piranesi Effect” [2015]  edited by Kerrianne Stone & Gerard Vaughan in which many Aussie artists, including my own work, is featured).

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