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PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720--1778)
Prima parte di architetture, e prospettive inventate, ed incise da Giambatista Piranesi architetto Veneziano fra gli Arcadi Salcindio Tiseio
[Roma]: [G. B. Piranesi], [c. 1770-75].
Etch. title-pl., [16] etch. pl. (numbered 1-14 with 2 unnumbered) ; 53.5 cm. (1°)

Originally published in 1743 with a letterpress table of contents (calling for 12 plates only in addition to the title-plate) and a long dedicatory letter to Nicola Giobbe, a fellow Venetian and early patron and mentor, this series was much revised and added to by the artist throughout the 1740s, though no formal second or later 'part' was ever issued in continuation. The state described here however (corresponding to Robison's 'second edition, fifth issue') represents the more or less stable form the series took after Giovanni Bouchard began issuing it in the 1750s either as part of Piranesi's Opere varie (q.v.) or in the collected edition of Piranesi's extant etchings assembled by Bouchard in 1751 under the catch-all title of Le magnificenze di Roma (q.v.). The absence in these later issues of the original 1743 dedication (which was reprinted word-for-word in 1747) is almost certainly due to the fact that Giobbe had died on 19 October 1748 (see Robison, op. cit. infra, pp. 23 and 55 n.40).

For an acute analysis of how the twin traditions of Italian baroque theatre design and Venetian capriccio vedute come together in this first flowering of Piranesi's genius as an etcher, see Andrew Robison, Piranesi early architectural fantasies: a catalogue raisonné of the etchings (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 1986), introduction, pp. 12--25. See also Hind, Piranesi, p. 75; Jörg Garms, 'Considérations sur la Prima parte' in G. Brunel (ed.), Piranèse et les Français: colloque tenu à la Villa Médicis 12--14 mai 1976 (Rome: Académie de France à Rome, 1978), pp. 265--280; J. Wilton-Ely, Piranesi (exh. cat., Arts Council, 1978), pp. 20--21; and Robison's catalogue nos. 3, 5--12, and 15--20. Robison also helpfully reproduces both settings of the original dedication leaf from the first edition (op. cit., pp. 95-99), the text of which constitutes the earliest of Piranesi's artistic credos.

Copy Notes Bound as the first component of a copy of Piranesi's Opere varie probably issued in the early 1770s (q.v.) - see Robison, op. cit., pp. 65 and 213 (referring to this copy). With the un-numbered pl. [15] and [16] mis-bound between pl. 6 and 7.

Binding C18th half sheep, marbled paper boards, red morocco spine-label gilt-lettered 'Piranesi / Opera / Varie'.

Reference Number 6454


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