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Part of the Forum of Nerva

Nerva’s Forum was planned as a transitional space leading from the Forum of Augustus to Emperor Vespasian’s new forum, dedicated in AD 71. Work was finally completed in the reign of Nerva, about AD 96.

In this series of smaller views of Roman antiquities, Piranesi displayed all of his genius as a printmaker. Although tiny, the images still convey the majestic scale of these ruins and their opulent detail. The drama of these prints demonstrates the impact of Piranesi’s collaboration with stage designers as well as the inherently theatrical quality of Roman public spaces.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Italian, 1720–1778
Part of the Forum of Nerva, Plate 1 from Ancient Rome in the Time of the Republic
1748
Etching on paper
Image/plate: 5 ¼ x 10 5/8 in. (13.3 x 27.0 cm); sheet: 13 x 19 5/8 in. (33.0 x 49.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.280.4