Piranesi: Tempio di Bacco

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778): Veduta del Tempio di Bacco. Etching on laid paper. Hind, state II/V. Size of plate: 40.9 x 62.2 cm

Piranesi’s engravings were of unparalleled importance for the diffusion of knowledge of Roman monuments throughout Europe. Prints from his publications ‘Le Antichità Romane’ and ‘Carceri’ were bought by almost every traveller visiting Rome or ordered by post by those who remained at home. Piranesi was at the centre of Roman mid-18th century cultural life, not only as engraver but also as designer, archaeologist, architect, antiques dealer and restorer, and travel guide for wealthy Grand Tourists.
The church of Sant'Urbano alla Caffarella occupies a remote position outside Rome’s city walls. Originally a Roman temple, it was modified in the 10th century and consecrated as a Christian church. The original temple was called Tempio di Bacco, as some scholars thought it had been dedicated to Bacchus in Roman times. It is now believed to have been dedicated to Ceres (the Roman goddess of agriculture) and Faustina, wife of Antoninus Pius.


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