antique prints, maps and watercolors

Column of Marcus Aurelius from Trofeo o Sia Magnifica... Rome, (1774-79) $18,000.00

"Veduta del Prospetto Principale Della Colonna Antoniae Sixtus V. Pont Max"

These monumentally sized engraving are displayed in the homes of some of the most famous art collectors and interior designers. The New York Times September 14, 2014 Styles of the Times shows them in the library of Sir John Richardson.

The son of a Venetian stone mason and trained as an architect, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) was naturally attracted to the beauty of the classical ruins in Rome. His keen intellect, skill as an artist and printmaker, eye for detail, knowledge of classical archaeology, and roles as collector and seller of antiquities, combined to make him one of the most famous 18th century print makers and most influential artists in the development and popularization of the neoclassical style.

Piranesi is best known by modern day collectors for his two series Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome) and Carceri (Prisons) but the engravings contained in Trofeo o sia Magnifica Colonna are the fitting culmination to a career dedicated to the depiction of the beauty, historic importance, and monumentality of the classical architecture preserved in Rome. He used 6 large copper plates to produce his depiction of the enormous column, the plates were backed with linen and joined to form a scroll nearly 9 feet long, They meticulously record the spiral narrative frieze covering this column dedicated to the memory of the great emperor.

The column of Marcus Aurelius also known as the Antonine column was modeled on Trajan’s column.  It was commissioned by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ son Commodus to commemorate his father’s 176 AD triumph over the Germanic Marcomanni, other tribes and barbarians along the Roman border extending along the Danube River.  It was erected in the Piazza Colonna in 193 AD. Like Trajan’s column, this one is surrounded by spiral decorative friezes  depicting the emperor’s many complicated military campaigns. Among the stories told there is the “miracle of the rain. ” When heat and drought almost forced the Roman legions to surrender, a rain storm descended refreshing them but sending a lightning strike towards their enemies.

Etching and engraving.

Approximately 30 x 115 inches.
Partial engraved signature at lower right “ Cav. Pir… “