Inscription: Recto, pencil annotation at l.l. ("H.31"); Verso, Baumfeld's stamp at l.l.
Provenance: Zeitlin and Ver Brugge, Los Angeles; Rudolf L. Baumfeld, Los Angeles
Scope and Content:
Piranesi published numerous suites of prints, celebrating the grandeur of Rome in archaeologically precise views of existing
monuments or in imaginary scenes combining real and invented elements. Among his most renowned publications are the Vedute
di Roma (1748-78), the Carceri d'invenzione (first edition, 1749-60), and Le antichita romane (1756). Piranesi had numerous
patrons among the papacy, clergy, and aristocrats of Rome and others throughout Europe, especially in England, and sets of
his prints were frequently purchased by connoisseurs and collectors who visited Rome.
Ponte Salario was part of the Vedute di Roma series, which featured 135 views of the main tourist sights of Rome and a few
views outside of the city. The series, begun in 1748, occupied Piranesi until his death in 1778 and in many ways documents
the evolution of his artistic career. In the first phase of the project, from 1748 to 1754, Piranesi issued prints exclusively
of contemporary Rome and of well-known sights such as the great basilicas and piazzas. In the second phase (1754-60), however,
he focused on individual monuments of ancient Rome.
Ponte Salario is characteristic of the second phase of the series and takes as its subject the ancient Roman bridge that crossed
the Aniene River near its confluence with the Tiber. In contrast to the smaller, more impressionistic portrayals of ancient
monuments in Piranesi's Antichita romane de' tempi della repubblica series, the Ponte Salario is rendered on a large scale,
with striking contrasts of light and shade that heighten the dramatic impact of the monument. To further enhance its grandeur,
Piranesi rendered the bridge from an oblique angle, thereby showing the monument in its entirety.