Piranesi Maxentius Piranesi Maxentius

The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was the subject of multiple Piranesi etchings.  The print in the collection, misidentified by Piranesi and titled the “tablinum (office) of the Golden House of Nero, wrongly called the Temple of Peace,” represents a much more developed style than his earlier etchings. A comparison of Piranesi’s etchings of the Basilica illustrate his development as an artist and antiquarian. The structure of the Basilica’s ruins do not change drastically over time, but the different angles and details Piranesi chose to emphasize provide a roadmap to the evolution of his artistic style. The Basilica of Maxentius is the largest Roman basilica, and by far the largest structure in the Forum. It can be seen in the background of other prints in the collection, once again providing new examples of Piranesi’s developing viewpoint.


Piranesi, Rome recorded: a complete edition of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Vedute di Roma from the collection of the Arthur Ross Foundation (New York, NY: Arthur Ross Foundation, 1990).

John Wilton-Ely, The mind and art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (London: Thames and Hudson, 1978).