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View of the Remains of the Cella of the Temple of Neptune

The two-storied colonnade in the interior of the Temple of Neptune made for many picturesque opportunities for composition and lighting. Piranesi’s exploration of unusual viewpoints gave richness to his images, without confusing the archaeological record. Further vitality came from the insertion of figures and animals, probably by his son Francesco. These figures represent multiple viewpoints: the nonchalant occupation of the ruins by local peasants and the contemplative inspection of the site by tourists.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Italian, 1720–1778
View of the Remains of the Cella of the Temple of Neptune, Plate 17 from Different Views…of Paestum
1778
Etching on paper
Image: 18 ¾ x 26 ½ in. (47.6 x 67.3cm); plate: 18 7/8 x 26 ¾ in. (47.9 x 67.9cm); sheet: 21 3/16 x 31 5/8 in. (55.4 x 80.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.278.11