PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720-1778). Le Antichità Romane. Rome: Stamperia Salomoni, 1786. -- Francisco PIRANESI. Monumenti degli Scipioni. Rome, 1785.
Together 4 volumes, 2o (531 x 410 mm). Letterpress title to vol.I, one etched portrait frontispiece of Piranesi by Francisco Piranesi; 3 etched titles; 2 engraved index leaves; one double-page etched dedication to Gustavius III of Sweden; 245 etched plates on 212 leaves (many double-page or folding) and two additional engraved plates in vol. I of the Porta S.Sebastiano, and Monumenti degli Scipioni. 6 plates bound in at the end of vol. II. (Some mostly marginal dampstaining.) First two volume bound in contemporary half calf (worn, the other two volumes disbound). Provenance: P. Moreno (bookplate).
Later edition of Piranesi's magnum opus. Le Antichità Romane crowned Piranesi's already well-established reputation and "established [him] as the foremost artistic proponent of Roman architecture" (Robinson, piranesi, 1986, p.11). The son of a stonemason, Piranesi trained in the architectural studio of his maternal uncle, Matteo Lucchesi, and possibly with the artist and stage designer Ferdinando Bibiena at Venice before travelling to Rome as part of the Venetian delegation to honour the newly elected Pope Benedict XIV. Piranesi's early enthusiasm for antiquity was further excited at Rome, and the discoveries at Herculaneaum, which Piranesi visited, heightened his own and others' fascination with ancient ruins. Le antichità Romane depicts archaeological monuments and sites, sepulchral monuments, reconstructions of engineering feats, ancient bridges, baths, and other structures; his concern for scholarship is evident in the plans, maps and inscriptions. The work by Piranesi's son, bound in at the end of volume II, shows the tomb of Scipio, which had recently been excavated. The 1784 date of the title page, was neatly replaced by 1786, and "Seconda Edizione" was presumably added by the publisher to the title. Focillon pp.297-310; Hind pp.83-84. Sold as a collection of plates, not subject to return. (4)