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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]: [Giovanni Bouchard], [1753 or 4].
Etch. title-pl., [16] etch. pl. (numbered 1--14 with 2 unnumbered) ; 51.5 cm. (1°)

First published in 1743 when Piranesi was only 23, the original edition consisted of the etched title-plate (lettered to include a dedication to Nicola Giobbe), a letterpress table of contents calling for 12 plates only (of which 11 are retained in this later expanded edition), and a long dedicatory letter to Giobbe, a fellow Venetian and early patron and mentor during Piranesi's early years in Rome. The series was added to and revised by the artist throughout the 1740s. The state described here however (matching Robison's 'second edition, first issue') represents the form the series took when Giovanni Bouchard first began issuing it from 1750 onwards as part of Piranesi's Opere varie (q.v.) or from 1751 in the collected edition of Piranesi's works issued under the general title of Le magnificenze di Roma (q.v.).

Some authorities treat two single plates first issued in the Opere varie - the 'Pianta di ampio magnifico Collegio' and 'Parte di ampio magnifico Porto' - as additions to this edition of the Prima parte. Although in some sense a summation of the scenographic and architectural themes of the series, it is probably more correct to see these two plates as constituent elements of the Opere varie or Magnificenze 'combination' volumes, even though in later issues of the Opere varie such as the later of the two copies in the Soane Museum dated to c. 1795 (q.v.) they were eventually numbered in sequence with the Prima parte plates.

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.

Copy Notes This copy was published as part of (and bound as the second item in) the second volume of a two-volume set of Le magnificenze di Roma (q.v.) issued in 1753 or 4. Front free-endpaper inscribed in ink TB 408 B1757 and in pencil by a later hand Vol 6. With MS pagination in faded ink 35-67 top right (on rectos only but including versos in the count). This numbering may be associated with an (early 19th-century?) Italian MS. index loosely inserted in a uniformly-bound six-volume set of the 'Opere di Piranesi' (binder's title), of which the Magnificenze di Roma takes up vols I & II and a copy of Le antichità Romane, 1756 (q.v.) the other four volumes. (There is some evidence that this order was at some point reversed, hence the pencilled reference to 'Vol. 6' on the front free endpaper in the second volume of the Magnificenze.)

Binding C18th calf, gilt roll-tooled borders and edges, gilt-tooled spine, black morocco spine-label lettered in gilt 'Opera De Piranesi Vol II'.

Reference Number 6453


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