Piranesi, the Temple of Saturn (Temple of Concord)

Temple of Concord [Saturn], Piranesi

Piranesi, Temple of Saturn. 1774. Davis Museum, Wellesley College.

Temple of Saturn

Temple of Saturn as it appears today.

The Temple of Saturn occupies a very old site in the Roman Forum, where the cult of Saturn had been practiced for millennia.Repaired, reconstructed, and rebuilt many times, scholars estimate the original Temple of Saturn was dedicated approximatey in 497 BCE, at the beginning of the Roman Republic. The Temple's inscription refers to its restoration in approximately 460-480 CE, nearly a thousand years later.

Piranesi represented the Temple to Saturn--erroneousy labeled the Temple of Concord--in 1774, in his series Vedute di Roma.Like the composition of his representations of the Baths of Caracalla and Tomb of Caecilia Metella, the monument is cleary featured in the center of the print. The foreground is more darkly etched, with a light sky above.Piranesi uses a point of view below the monument, giving it a large vertica voume. He also includes a few figures in the foreground, both providing scale and juxtaposing daily ife with the monument's majesty. Together, Piranesi's artistic choices emphasize the grandeur and sheer scale of the Temple. One might suggest that Piranesi's goal was to convey the towering presence of the ancient Roman past over the contemporary viewer.



Amanda Claridge, Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 83-84.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Temple of Saturn, plate 80/1 from the series "Vedute di Roma" (Views of Rome). 1774. Etching, 47 cm x 70.2 cm. The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. http://dms.wellesley.edu/detail.php?term=saturn&module=objects&type=keyword&x=0&y=0&kv=15016&record=0&module=objects 

Piranesi, Rome Recorded: A Complete Edition of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Vedute di Roma from the Collection of the Arthur Ross Foundation (New York: Arthur Ross Foundation, 1989), 115-116.

Piranesi, the Temple of Saturn (Temple of Concord)