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PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720--1778)
Descrizione e disegno dell'emissario del Lago Albano di Gio Batista Piranesi
[Rome]: [G.B. Piranesi], [1762].
19, [1] p., etch. t.-pl., IX etch. pl. (1 fold.) ; 54.5cm. (1°)

This was the first of a series of three publications by Piranesi on the antiquities of the region of Lake Albano. It records and analyzes the monumental entrance and outflow of the ancient tunnel through Mount Albano. The remains of huge hydro-engineering structures in this part of Latium held a particular fascination for Piranesi because of his (dubious) belief that they dated from the Siege of the Veii in 398 B.C. and could therefore be claimed as entirely Roman in character. This was no doubt a factor that moved the artist to produce some of his most dramatic etchings of antique remains outside Rome. The fishermen seen setting their nets and angling in the waters of the Lake are not however merely decorative, but had been instrumental in guiding Piranesi in his physical investigation of the site.

The Descrizione is listed in Piranesi's etched Catalogo of 1762, but without the number of plates or price being stated. It was however sufficiently complete by 1 April of that year to receive the censors' approval for publication. It was followed in the same year by a supplementary volume on two large subterranean chambers at the edge of the Lake (Di due spelonche ornate degli antichi alla riva del Lago, q.v.) and a further work on the antiquities of the area surrounding Pope Clement's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. This latter volume first appeared in 1764, both separately and in combination with the two earlier works, under the catch-all title of Antichità d'Albano e di Castel Gandolfo (q.v.). See Hind, Piranesi, pp. 85-6; BAL Early printed books, no. 2553.

Copy Notes Bound (2) with Antichità d' Albano, 1764 and Di due spelonche ornate dagli antichi alla riva del Lago Albano [1762].

Binding C19th calf, gilt-ruled borders, gilt-ruled spine, red spine-label gilt-lettered 'Piranesi / Antichit. / di / Albano'. Part of a 12-volume set re-bound by Hood and McCullock, to whom Soane paid £24 on 3 July 1826. (Archive 16/12/38).

Reference Number 6410


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