Monumental publication

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian engraver, etcher and architect, was born in Maiano di Mestre in 1720 and died in Rome in 1778. After a first period of studies in Venice, he went to Rome in 1740 where remained for nearly all of his life, except short sojourns in Naples and Venice (1744-1745), Pompei and Ercolano (1770), Paestum (1777). Published toward the end of Piranesi’s career, Trofeo o sia Magnifica is comprised of three series of plates created between 1774 and 1779 that depict the colossal relief columns of Rome: the Trajan column, the Antonine column (of Marcus Aurelius), and the column of Antoninus and Faustina. With the assistance of Francesco Piranesi, Giovanni Battista’s son, and Vincenzo Dolcibene, the three groups of plates were published as a single volume. Shown here are the Trajan (8.5 feet) and Antonine (10 feet) columns, which are superb engravings on multiple sheets pasted together.