Production and Framing

Piranesi/Sepulchral urn of Marcus Agrippa
These etchings (with next image) of Roman funerary monuments and buildings, probably published in the 1740s, are among the earliest works by the Italian architect and draftsman Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Combining actual and imaginary elements of classical antiquity, Piranesi championed the achievements of Roman architects and engineers. The small human figures who admire the massive fragments emphasize the scale and grandeur of ancient Roman constructions. Covered with vegetation, the ruins nevertheless survive and transcend the encroachments of nature.