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Roman Construction Techniques, Piranesi, 1756

Roman Construction Techniques, Piranesi, 1756


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Means by which the large blocks of travertine and marble were lifted during the construction of the large Tomb of Caecilia Metella, from Le Antichita Romane (Roman Antiquities), 1756-57. Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Italian, 1720, 1778) While Piranesi was at work on the Antichita Romane, the result of years of research into the highly developed engineering skills of the Romans, the first threats to Roman preeminence were heard. In the early 1750s, certain French and British scholars and architects had begun to assert that the Romans were mere imitators of the Greeks, under whom all the arts had attained perfection. A desire to defend the Romans from this charge may lie behind the exaggeration that appears in some of the plates of this publication -- here Piranesi makes the mausoleum appear much larger than it actually is and exaggerates the difficulty of its construction.

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