»[...] una gran Pianta icnografica dell’antica Roma, che fra poco darò alla luce«. Piranesis Pläne der Roma antica und die Nuova Pianta di Roma von Giovanni Battista Nolli

Prolegomena zu einer kritischen Edition von Piranesis - Publikationen zur Archäologie der Stadt Rom

  • Marcel Baumgartner (Autor/in)


In his Antichità Romane, published in 1756, Piranesi announced the imminent publication of a plan of ancient Rome. But the plan – which would have followed previous reconstructions by Pirro Ligorio (1561) and Etienne Dupérac (1574) – never appeared. His announcement has therefore generally been taken as a reference to the monumental Ichnographia Campi Martii Antiquae Urbis published in 1762. However, this ignores the fact that the Antichità Romane already contained three partial plans. These plans are significant: when superimposed, they produce a coherent whole; and they can also be directly connected to the Ichnographia Campi Martii. As this essay makes clear, the three plans demonstrate that work on a plan of ancient Rome had progressed considerably further than has previously been assumed. A central part of this assessment is that – along with five other detailed plans of thermal baths – these plans match the scale of Giovanni Battista Nolli’s Nuova Pianta di Roma of 1748 (the production of which Piranesi had been involved with during his first stay in Rome from 1740 to 1744), which was much praised for its esattezza. This means that Piranesi sought the same claim to scholarship and accuracy that had been attributed to Nolli’s plan for his own piante icnografiche dell’antica Roma. In comparing Piranesi directly to Nolli, the essay illuminates not only Piranesi’s ‘way of thinking’, but also how his plans and publications on the archaeology of the city of Rome as a whole ‘function’. Through detailed analyses of sites detailed on the maps such as the Porticus Octaviae, the relationship between scientific archaeological research and free ‘artistic’ invention can be determined more precisely than was previously the case. Only in understanding this relationship can a full understanding of Piranesi’s achievement as an archaeologist of the city of Rome be gained.