View of the Villa d’Este, Tivoli

Giovanni Battista Piranesi1748–1778

The Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

The Art Museum RIGA BOURSE
Riga, Latvia

The engraving “View of the Villa d’Este, Tivoli” from the series “Views of Rome”* uniquely expresses the synthesis of the landscape and tremendous monuments around Rome. The concept of Piranezi's interpretation is strictly tectonic: the compositional structure is created by its horizontal division into close and distant zones. The landscape, as a spatial framework, reveals a monumental ensemble according to the primary principle: top section and bottom section, on the right-left side – symmetry. The main feature – a three-storey palazzo, which is portrayed in the top section of the most distant zone on the vertical middle axis, visually dominates all of its surrounding space. The external contour of the villa is accented by a light background of sky – a free spatial field. The sculptural pair of figures by the fountain’s semi-circular line is portrayed in the lower section. The complex is divided on the left- and right-hand side by a strong geometrical system of paths, ramps and steps, in which fountains, grottos and pergolas have been arranged. In this way, the central perspective facilitates the organization of the spatial elements. The junction-points in the central section led to the arch, with the grotto providing its depth. The spatial elements symmetrically arranged in the front plan imperceptibly cross over to the frontal view, as both halves approach. The entire composition moves away into the depths. The silhouettes of the figures and the hand gestures highlight the motif of movement well: the movement which begins from the sculpture in the left corner in the foreground continues in a semi-circle from one sculpture to the next and in a lithe way moves to the figure of the person standing in the fountain square, and after that slowly blossoms out in the silhouettes of the figures which are arranged on the central lane in the direction towards the junction-point.

* Vedute di Roma. Disegnate e incise da Giambattista Piranesi architetto Veneziano, divise in due tomi (1748–1778)


  • Title: View of the Villa d’Este, Tivoli
  • Creator: Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778)
  • Date Created: 1748–1778
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 460 x 690 mm
  • History: Acquired in 1990
  • Type: Graphic work
  • Rights: Latvian National Museum of Art
  • Medium: Paper, etching

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