• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7534

    Old Master Prints

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 203

    Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

    Colonna di Trajano (Focillon 551-573)

    Price Realised  


    Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)
    Colonna di Trajano (Focillon 551-573)
    etchings, 1775, the set of 19 plates, good impressions, watermark double-encircled Fleur-de-Lys with initial B (cf. Robison 36), with full margins, lacking the two plates depicting bas-reliefs by Francesco Piranesi (C. 645-6), each plate mounted on guards in a vellum binding with title stamped on the front, minor surface dirt, short nicks and folds at the sheet edges, otherwise in generally good condition (Album)
    Overall 82 x 63 x 3 cm.

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    Between 1774 and 1779 G.-B. Piranesi worked on a series of engravings recording the three principle monumental Roman columns built to commemorate the emperors Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus), Marcus Aurelius, and Antoninus and Faustina in Rome. Originally situated in the center of Trajan's Forum, a sizeable complex of buildings designed by the architect Apollodoro, Trajan's column was completed in AD 113 to commemorate the emperor's triumph against the Dacians in two military campaigns he led in AD 101-102. Measuring almost 100 feet tall, it is covered by spiral bas-relief sculptures depicting the two victories and ending with a statue of the emperor at the top. After his death in 117AD, Trajan's ashes were laid to rest inside the column's pedestal.

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