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Fragments of the marble plan of ancient Rome, the "Forma Urbis Romae"

Fragments of the marble plan of ancient Rome, the "Forma Urbis Romae"

Artist: Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Italian, 1720–1778)
Culture: Italian
Date: 1756
Medium: Etching on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 18 1/4 x 14 15/16 inches (46.4 x 37.9 cm)
Plate: 19 5/8 x 15 1/16 inches (49.8 x 38.3 cm)
Sheet: 20 7/16 x 17 inches (51.9 x 43.2 cm)
Mat: 34 x 26 inches (86.4 x 66 cm)
Classification: Print
Credit Line: Bequest of Sara Lichtenstein, in memory of her parents, Joseph and Esther Lichtenstein
Label Text:Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Italian, 1720-1778
City Plan (Forma Urbis Romae), 1756
Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University 1977.59.56


The ancient Forma Urbis Romae, which was a plan of the city of Rome inscribed into marble, and broken into fragments over the centuries, is one of the very few maps surviving from antiquity. Dating from after 203 CE, it presents the city of Rome at a scale of roughly 1:240. The fragments represented in Piranesi's etching are merely a few of those known today. Over a thousand pieces of the plan are known to survive, making possible the digitally-aided reconstruction currently being pursued at Stanford University (see http://graphics.stanford.edu/projects/forma-urbis/). By contrast, Piranesi made no attempt to align the fragments, emphasizing their incompleteness.

Object number: 1977.59.56
In Collection(s)